Who hasn't dreamed of going to the moon? That dream for eleven-year-old Leo Gray is about to come true—but he’s in for the surprise of his life! In the year 2113, most people live in robotically maintained homes, ride around in self-flying cars, and wear ozone-resistant clothes. Most people that is; just not Leo Gray’s parents. They’re stuck in the past, and science know-it-all Leo is completely fed up with his beyond-embarrassing living arrangement with them. But when he enters a rocket-building competition for a chance to attend the Lunar Academy, Leo’s luck finally seems to turn in his favor! However, it's not long after stepping foot into his dorm room that Leo discovers the moon’s celebrated city is harboring a world of dark secrets. It's soon a race against the clock for Leo and his friends Andromeda Groves (a code-hacking whiz from Canada), Pavo Digbi (a history buff from Brazil), and Grus Pinwheel (a musically gifted and comically endearing Aussie) to intercept and foil plans to destroy the city—leaving the group’s leader faced with a decision that no eleven-year-old should ever have to make: save Earth or save himself and the city he fought so hard to reach.Leo Gray and the Lunar Eclipse is an epic adventure set in a wonderfully imaginative, futuristic world overflowing with robots, anti-gravity sports, superhero-esque suspense, and page after page of laughter and heart that will leave boys and girls equally gripped under its spell!
|Publisher:||Greenleaf Book Group Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.60(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.30(d)|
|Age Range:||8 - 11 Years|
About the Author
K. J. Kruk, an award-winning visual artist and proud patron of the literary arts, is a fresh name to the world of books—but rest assured, this name is one to get excited about! Having combined a passion for drawing and writing, K. J. Kruk has created a highly imaginative futuristic world that is bound to ignite young minds for years to come! With impeccable command of the English language and a solid dose of humor, K. J. Kruk will leave readers thirsting to know: What comes after Leo Gray and the Lunar Eclipse?
Read an Excerpt
The Grays were not your "typical" family in the year 2113. In fact, some would go so far as to say that the Grays were "z-typical." While most families in the small suburb of Riverdale enjoyed the luxury of robotically maintained homes, self-flying cars, and ozone-protective clothing, Mr. Gray believed his family didn't need to dabble in the likes of such modern things; why, all that high-tech stuff — one would presume — gave poor Mr. Gray a great deal of anxiety.
The family owned a local clock-fixing shop, Minutes & Widgets, a few blocks down the street from where they lived on Sylvan Avenue. Minutes & Widgets was the last place on Earth where one could find or fix ticking antiques, and undoubtedly so, sales were dwindling. These days, all anyone seemed to "ogle" and "boggle" over were trendy holographic timepieces and flashy optical-reflectional screens. It was only the occasional collector looking for a rare pocket watch or Swatch that made the Grays a decent enough penny to keep the small store running.
Mr. Gray himself was a rather ponderous-looking fellow (to say the very least). He was round like an eggplant with large out-struck ears and a good-sized gap between his two front teeth. Mrs. Gray, on the other hand, was shaped more like an onion ... or pumpkin, as some would insist. She half-willingly entertained a head full of frizzy blonde curls, a tiny round nose, and eyebrows plucked too thinly.
Together Mr. and Mrs. Gray had two children, one ten, and the other two years past three. The younger, Lily, was the mirror image of her mother, and had recently acquired the rather pestilent habits of sneaking off with her brother's things and asking questions about everything. The elder, Leo, (whom our story is about) was luckily a notch more discerning. He looked more like his father, however, fortunately, lacked most of his more "prominent" features. Leo, instead, was shaped lean like an asparagus, with possibly too much messy auburn hair, a freckle-spotted nose, and eyes the color of Mercury. His favorite hobby (when he wasn't reading books on science, physics, and astronomy) was bicycling.
Though as far as the Grays being z-typical was concerned, Lily was much too little to notice a thing; but Leo, unfortunately, was perfectly old enough to be horribly embarrassed by his parents' non-modernity. It was, after all, their fault he was considered strange at his school, Saint Margaret's Academy. No one else's parents that he knew of used a dishwasher, vacuum, or sewing machine. None of them lived in a wooden-paneled home, trimmed their grass with a lawnmower, or drove a yellow Beetle from the 1960s, either.
This, of course, made Leo extremely grateful to wear a uniform instead of just anything. He could hardly imagine what sorts of taunting he would have been subject to showing up to public school in blue jeans and cotton tees from 2013! Unquestionably, in Leo's mind, there were no other parents in the entire universe more embarrassing.
"Cheetos or Doritos? That is the question," said Mrs. Gray undecidedly while peering at the family's ridiculously fat and smushed-faced Persian cat for an answer that dull Friday evening.
As predicted, Misses Kisses was in no mood to respond to such stupid questioning. She instead strutted to her litter box in the corner of the black-and-white-tiled kitchen to mind her own "business."
"Cheetos it is, then!" tittered Mrs. Gray. She stood on her tippy-toes and pulled out the crinkly plastic bag from the cupboard, when just then, a brush of hot air filled the kitchen from the breezeway as Mr. Gray walked in.
"Any word on the election?" he inquired sternly. He tossed his bowler hat clumsily across the kitchen table as the garage door slammed behind him, scaring the cat straight out of her box.
"No, no news yet, I'm afraid ...," sighed Mrs. Gray. She greeted her husband with a wet, sloppy smooch and proceeded to make her way into the living room. "Just the same-ol' sameol' on the Daily Grief — talk of another tree burglary down on 7th Street — who knows what street they'll hit next!" she gossiped. "At least you and I are fortunate enough to still boast a live and living shrub without means of atrocious pork-q-wire or laser-tape!
"And oh," she thought to test, trying to sound inconspicuous, "more to-do about that new city inside the moon ..."
Mrs. Gray waited pensively for a response, but all that came from her husband was a "humph" and an unimpressed scowl. Talk of the moon was always a touchy subject with Mr. Gray, but regardless, there was something pressing on Mrs. Gray's mind that had to be dealt with tonight — other than the meowing that beckoned from beside the pea-green recliner.
"One too many micey-wicey, have we?" chortled Mrs. Gray. She sat down heavily and picked up the overweight lump of fur, who immediately began batting her fluffy orange tail at the bag of Cheetos while kneading her claws deep into the fabric of the armrest. Who did he think he was anyway? A cheetah wearing SUNGLASSES? Misses Kisses hissed.
Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Mr. Gray was in search of a piece of pie. He was dreaming of a piece of apple, key lime, or maybe even banana cream — all of which sounded extremely tasty as Mr. Gray was reasonably famished from a very long and boring day at work:
No customers ...
No sales ...
Just the sound of ticking clocks, aging ...
He very quickly replied to Mrs. Gray's gossip, "Association dues starting at twenty-million zozobucks A YEAR for a lunar studio? Ha!" He snorted piggishly. "I'm sure one day we'll see that kind of moola fixing watches."
He returned his thoughts to which topping sounded yummier: chocolate chips or crumbled walnuts?
If only he could find that pie ...
Mrs. Gray stared numbly at the television set as her husband rattled on inside the fridge. She still wasn't sure how she wanted to ask the question she wanted to ask, without actually asking it. She was almost certain his answer would be a "NO," or maybe more conceivably a "NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT!" But there was no more putting it off. So she began by suggesting, lightly, "I suppose we'd better start selling newer things, then, if we'd like to find our son a nest up there before the big —" She stopped, deciding it better to go a less direct route, and started over. "You know Miss Witz?"
Mr. Gray frowned at the name. "Yeah? What about her? Has she and everyone else around here found some magical avocados to get to the moon? ... Bah!" He puffed irritably, still scrummaging through the leftover tuna casserole and cans of Coke in search of something sweet. "You know what I said about talking to that — lady. I still think we should have sent Leo to the public school ... at least there the teaching-bots wouldn't be so ... so rooty-snooty!"
"Expecting compliments from a robot during parent-teacher conferences, dear, isn't any less snooty," said Mrs. Gray, licking her orange-crusted fingers, still pondering the question that needed to be asked. "They're not programmed to be as cordial as you or me ..."
"Well, that's still no excuse," Mr. Gray continued to grump, having finally spotted a promising-looking Tupperware container in the far back of the fridge. "It was a nice tie — and even if robots don't fancy polka dots, I don't particularly care for some bundle-of-wire-and-steel giving me advice about my son's education!"
However, as Mr. Gray removed the silvery foil, he regrettably realized with the aroma of week-old fish that his favorite dish was missing. "And speaking of things I DON'T like," he thundered and sulked all at the same time, "is NOT being able to find any pie!"
"If I recall correctly," said Mrs. Gray, "a certain someone was supposed to pick us up a can of whipped cream earlier from the store. Whoever heard of any person eating pie without whipped cream?"
Mr. Gray stood flummoxed at the thought: he didn't remember seeing anything about "whipped cream" on the pick-up list. Then again, he didn't actually remember seeing any pick-up list at all! He dug into his pockets, as if to prove his wife incorrect, only to discover a crinkled-up piece of paper with the word "CREAM" smeared underneath a pile of sticky yellow goo.
"Er — um — right," he mumbled sheepishly, tossing the mistaken handkerchief into the trash before his wife could take notice of it. "As you were saying — Miss Witz, was it?"
"Yes, well," Mrs. Gray finally began, "like her or not — she said that — the government will be having a contest for free-entry!"
"A 'contest'?" Mr. Gray choked a little, nearly toppling over the carton of extra-percent-fat milk as he poured himself a bowl of frosted flakes. "What sort of contest? One to see how many poor people think they actually have a chance at winning their way up to the moon? ... HA! What a load of gobbledygook!"
"Not exactly ...," said Mrs. Gray, dawdling with the question. "It's something, well, Miss Witz thought Leo would be good for." She couldn't possibly tell Mr. Gray the whole thing was, in all actuality, her very own idea — at least not now anyhow. He was already being difficult enough without any pie!
However, at the sound of his wife's suggestion, the carton of milk came crashing onto the counter. "Our Leo?" Mr. Gray thunderously scoffed, hurtling himself into the living room with his bowl of frosted flakes splashing alongside. "Participating in a contest for the government? For WHAT?"
"Oh — you know how he is with all that sciencey stuff," Mrs. Gray started to fret as Mr. Gray sank uncomfortably into the custard-yellow couch. "Why, Miss Witz thought he might just have a chance at winning, as it's a science contest — a very prestigious science contest, at that! Even the lunar president is said to make an appearance!"
But spotting her husband's forehead beaming redder than a cherry, Mrs. Gray realized that she needed to be much more persuasive (and much more clever) if she was going to get Mr. Gray to agree to their son partaking in a government competition. And so she pressed on more tactfully. "I suppose they're looking for the next junior Einstein — or some such thing ... for that accelerated school of theirs: The Lunar Academy! I mean, wouldn't it be nice if Leo won and he could at least get his ticket up there, to Luna City, before — well — you know what they've been saying about the big —"
But with that, Mr. Gray rose swiftly to his feet, wildly waving his beefy pointer finger in front of the television as an ad for condos (inside the moon) shot across the screen. "You see that man there on the TV, Darrell Dilluck?" he barked bitterly. "Don't let his suave hair, pearly-white teeth, and cool-looking space clothes make you think life would be any better for our son up there! And the big — well, I don't even want to say it — but you know as well as I do that it's all a bunch of horse-talk! It's all because of that President Soenso — trying to force everyone on this planet into giving away their hard-earned pennies so he can build his little dream city!"
"Pennies?" Mrs. Gray chimed in innocently.
"Oh, you know what I mean — pennies, zozobucks — same thing! Either way, up there is not here; and it's certainly not where our ancestors imagined us to be. Yes, of course, it's nice and new and filled with fantastically fantastic things — but mind you, Lucy, unless the-big-you-know-what actually happens, Luna City is no place anyone in my family will be going," Mr. Gray said furiously.
Just then, a small murmuring came from down the hall in response to all the loud conversing.
"Mommy," a pigtail-headed five-year-old said with a whine and a pout, entering the living room dressed in bright pink bunny pajamas with her battered and stitched teddy, Mr. Winky. "I can't catch any sleepy-pies!"
"Oh, Lily-lumps-and-bumps," babied Mrs. Gray, shooting her husband a dirty look, "what are you doing up? Mommy here will try to keep Daddy more quiet. Now run along and get back to catching your sleepy-pies and cakes. Try to catch Mommy one of those yummy cinnamon pastries for the morning, would you? And ooh! — maybe a nice warm cappuccino, too!
"Oh, and don't go waking up your brother," she continued with an unfortunately telling smile. "Leo has a very big day tomorrow!"
However, Mrs. Gray didn't catch her slip of words.
"A 'big' day?" questioned Mr. Gray as Lily waddled back to bed. If there was anything that Mr. Gray hated more than the government, it was secrets.
"Oh! — you know," faltered Mrs. Gray. Her mind raced to think of something to say; however, as she sat there, trapped between Mr. Gray's demanding glare and Misses Kisses's tail swatting past the ad for lunar condos, she simply couldn't help but want her son to get his ticket up there — especially with all the talk of the big — why, she couldn't bear to think of it!
And it was with that thought that a very dishonest, yet somewhat practical idea fluttered into Mrs. Gray's head: Mr. Gray didn't need to know about Leo entering any sort of government competition; in fact, if Leo won, she could simply tell him that she, herself, had acquired the ticket at a lotto or street fair. He'd never have to know that Leo had ever participated in a government competition to begin with!
Yes, of course ... Mrs. Gray smiled cleverly to herself: It was the perfect idea! And so she lied: "Leo has a — oh, um —" She thought for a second, tapping on her tooth.
"A tooth appointment?" suggested Mr. Gray.
"A TOOTH appointment!" sang Mrs. Gray with revelation. "Yes, yes! He has one of those tomorrow morning."
"As I was saying," Mr. Gray continued to grump, poking around at the remote, "there will be no government competitions for anyone in this family — especially contests to go to that ridiculous school inside the moon!"
However, as Mr. Gray removed the back of the remote, he soon found the batteries (much like his piece of pie) were conveniently missing.
"Life ... tranquility ... stress-free economy — that's the motto of Luna City," rang Darrell Dilluck's voice smoothly over the television set, as Mr. Gray got up to bop the receiver, and Mrs. Gray sat there, daydreaming about how envious Marge Houagan and Sally Watzernaim from down the street would be to find out her son would soon be on his way to the moon.
Little did Mr. Gray know that a contest entry for Leo had already been arranged.CHAPTER 2
The next morning, after Mr. Gray left for work, Miss Witz arrived in her flying blue van-jet with a large cardboard box.
"Has he left yet?" she asked Mrs. Gray, standing in the front entrance alongside an intimidating set of garden gnomes and a tropical pink flamingo.
Rumors of what to expect inside the Grays' family home had long been circulating Riverdale's streets: painful beds filled with sharp protruding springs; dangerous lamps powered by cords flowing with electricity, and the terror of preserved food dating back to 2013! Some rumors even went so far as to say that the Grays still used toilet paper to clean their cheeks. This was all a very "frightening" idea to say the least — especially for a robot.
Miss Witz was a tall, one-wheeled, silver teaching-bot with ink-blue hair, bronze-plated lips, and fingertips that un-swiveled into useful things like a pocketknife, flashlight, Phillips-head screwdriver, and a light-shield umbrella. Miss Witz was extraordinarily intelligent for a robot, designed to learn to imitate an array of human emotions, wants, and needs. And as Leo's science teacher at Saint Margaret's Academy, getting him to win the competition for free-entry under her training seemed like the perfect opportunity to leverage a pay raise — or at least a properly functioning floating desk chair.
Mrs. Gray welcomed Miss Witz with a fat, hospitable smile. "Ah, Miss Witz! Yes, do come in. Leo's just finishing his Fruity-Loopys!"
Miss Witz selected her best mechanical grin and followed Mrs. Gray timidly through the home. The rooms were unlike anything she had ever seen before. The walls were covered with a weird textured floral paper (which was very different from the computer-touch-walls she was accustomed to); the furniture was massive and oddly accompanied by dainty lace doilies (even more bizarre than the modern-day hover-decor); long, shaded fixtures stood with light beaming out of them; and in the corner of the living room, next to the china cabinet filled with little glass cat figurines, stood a thick black box, which Miss Witz recalled from her pre-installed history manual was a television!(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Leo Gray and the Lunar Eclipse"
Copyright © 2019 K.J. Kruk.
Excerpted by permission of Greenleaf Book Group Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ONE The TV,
TWO The Box,
THREE The Competition,
FOUR The Worst Dinner Ever,
FIVE The Disappearing Trees,
SIX Gudrun's Gift,
SEVEN A Mysterious Note,
EIGHT The Launch,
NINE A Thousand Floating Chairs,
TEN The Gravital Bet,
ELEVEN Down the Secret Stairs,
TWELVE The Creature in the Crypt,
THIRTEEN The Search for the Invisible Key,
FOURTEEN The Chambers of Life and Death,
FIFTEEN Glittering Veins,
About the Author,