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SPHDZ (Spaceheadz Series #1)
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SPHDZ (Spaceheadz Series #1)

3.5 12
by Jon Scieszka, Francesco Sedita (With), Shane Prigmore (Illustrator)

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The perfect combination of the age old experience of holding and pouring over a physical book with newest media technology that kids love!

Michael K. just started fifth grade at a new school. As if that wasn't hard enough, the kids he seems to have made friends with apparently aren't kids at all. They are aliens. Real aliens who have invaded our planet in the


The perfect combination of the age old experience of holding and pouring over a physical book with newest media technology that kids love!

Michael K. just started fifth grade at a new school. As if that wasn't hard enough, the kids he seems to have made friends with apparently aren't kids at all. They are aliens. Real aliens who have invaded our planet in the form of school children and a hamster. They have a mission to complete: to convince 3,140,001 kids to BE SPHDZ.

But with a hamster as their leader, "kids" who talk like walking advertisements, and Michael K as their first convert, will the SPHDZ be able to keep their cover and pull off their assignment?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Michael K. (nudge nudge, young Kafka fans) is hoping for a smooth transition as he starts fifth grade at a new school in Brooklyn. But things go downhill when two weirdoes named Jennifer and Bob glom onto him, revealing that they're aliens from the planet Spaceheadz; their leader is the class hamster; and they believe Michael K. can lead 3.14 million Earth kids in a movement to save the planet from being "turned off." Additionally, they must deal with a haplessly persistent agent with the Anti Alien Agency (motto: "To Protect, and to Serve, and to Always Look Up"). To get the full experience, readers can log on to a number of Web sites woven into the story: antialienagency.com, for example, is a funny spoof of a government site. But while Michael K. makes an appealing fish out of water, the story, parceled out in bite-size chapters, feels both padded and flat. And the central running joke--that Bob and Jennifer talk like TV commercials--comes across as recycled material from a Saturday Night Live Coneheads skit. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 7-10. (June)
Children's Literature - Lauri Berkenkamp
It is Michael K's first day of fifth grade in his new school in Brooklyn, and he just wants to be able to fit in. When new students Bob and Jennifer and their chatty pet hamster, Major Fluffy, show up and attach themselves to Michael, he knows his chances of fitting in with the normal kids are slim to none. Bob and Jennifer are commercial-quoting aliens, and their mission is to convince 3.14 million kids to become Spaceheadz, or they will have to turn off planet Earth. Because Michael K starred in a cereal commercial when he was younger in which he said, "I can do anything," Bob and Jennifer are convinced that Micheal K is the solution to their Spaceheadz recruiting problem. Meanwhile Agent Umber of the AAA (Anti Alien Agency) is bumbling his way to finding Bob, Jennifer, and Major Fluffy, but he spends more time getting hit on the head than achieving his goals. This first in what will apparently be a long series of books devoted to the Spaceheadz brand is a mix of cynicism and brilliant marketing. Much of the book's plot is dependent on readers going online to various Web sites that help explain the back story and what is going on with Bob and Jennifer. Without going to those sites, the book is difficult to follow. It is a brilliant marketing ploy, geared to a generation that is more comfortable online than reading pages of a book. The sites themselves are harmless and cleverly done. This series is targeted at readers from ages seven to ten, but it is probably most likely to appeal to the lower end of that age range. Reviewer: Lauri Berkenkamp
School Library Journal
Ts. Michael wants to save the Earth—but does that mean helping the Spaceheadz or turning them in? As in Scieskza's "Time Warp Trio" series (Viking), comically twisted contemporary cultural references abound. The young aliens speak primarily in TV advertising slogans, which fit remarkably—and hilariously—into the dialogue. Real commercial products, from George Foreman grills to Charmin™ toilet tissue, are put to exotic extraterrestrial uses. The intriguing book design includes chapter headings in English and SPHDZ characters, occasional white-on-black pages, and SPHDZ "stickers" scattered throughout the text. The black-and-white cartoon illustrations are often integrated into the text layout, giving the book a graphic-novel feel. Four creative, well-designed websites contribute important information to the story. Science-fiction fans with a taste for off-the-wall humor will be eager to join the SPHDZ movement.—Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL
Kirkus Reviews
P.S. 858 fifth grader Michael K. had hoped for a normal first day in his new school, but what he gets is crazy-weird. He's paired with two other new students, Bob (who talks like a commercial) and Jennifer (who sounds like a wrestling announcer), who seem to know him and who think he can do anything. They and their loquacious hamster, Major Fluffy, even say that they are aliens sent to Earth to recruit SPHDZ. They are sure Michael K can help them recruit 3.14 million kids-if not, the Earth will be turned off! While Michael K. is trying to figure out how to escape or at least mitigate the total weirdstorm, Agent Umber of the Anti-Alien Agency is hot on the trail. With this series kick-off, Scieszka and Sedita have just written the book (literally) on how to integrate new media into a "traditional" book for children. The story's websites are all functional (not to mention funny) and extend the narrative. Prigmore's black-and-white illustrations are a perfect match; in fact, artwork and text have rarely worked so well together in this format. Hysterical, sneakily instructive fun. You will be SPHDZ! (Multi-platform science fiction. 7-12)

Product Details

Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
Spaceheadz Series , #1
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)
580L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Read an Excerpt

Space Headz

Michael K. knew his first day in a new school in a new city was going to be weird. How could a first day at someplace in Brooklyn, New York, called P.S. 858 not be weird?

He just had no idea it could be this weird.

Michael K. had been in fifth grade for only twenty minutes, and already

1. Mrs. Halley had stuck him in the slow group with the two strange new kids,

2. the new girl had eaten half of his only pencil, and

3. the new boy had just told Michael K. that they were Spaceheadz from another planet.

“Uh, yeah,” said Michael K. “I just moved here too.”

The girl flexed an arm. “SMACKDOWN,” she said in a voice like a wrestling announcer.

“Very nice.” Michael K. nodded.

Sure, he was a new kid too. But these other new kids were seriously creeping him out. He did not want to get stuck with these losers on the first day of school. It could ruin his whole life.

The boy nodded back. “JUST DO IT.”

The girl drew on her Star Wars lunch box:


This was getting beyond weird.

“Michael K., I’M LOVING IT!” said the boy. “We need your help. You must become a SPHDZ. Save your world. I am Bob.”

“Jennifer,” said the girl in that deep, echoing voice.

Michael K. watched Jennifer crunch the last of his Dixon Ticonderoga No. 2.

How did this new kid Bob know his name? Michael K. hadn’t said it. What did he mean, “save your world”? Were they just messing with him? Yeah, that was it. They were just goofing around.

Michael K. decided he would goof right back . . . then move his seat as far away from them as possible.

“I get it,” said Michael K. “You are Spaceheadz from another planet. On a mission to Earth. Here to take over the world. Take me to your leader. Bzzt, bzzzt.”

“See! I told you, Jennifer!” said Bob. “Michael K. can do anything! He is like a rock. MMM, MMM GOOD.”

Jennifer burped up the eraser from Michael K.’s only pencil. She spit it out.


“Eeek eek,” said the class hamster.

Room 501-B went silent except for the sound of Mrs. Halley writing on the chalkboard.

The thought occurred to Michael K. that Bob and Jennifer were not joking.

The thought occurred to Michael K. that they really were Spaceheadz from another planet.

The thought exploded in Michael K.’s head that those thoughts were ridiculous.

Aliens don’t invade fifth-grade classrooms. They don’t look like fifth graders. And they don’t talk like commercials and pro wrestlers.

Bob and Jennifer were probably just from somewhere else. And kind of confused.



Meet the Author

Jon Scieszka is the creator of Trucktown, including the New York Times bestselling Smash, Crash!, and the author of The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs!, the Time Warp Trio series, Caldecott Honor Book The Stinky Cheese Man, and many other books that inspire kids to want to read. He has worked as an elementary school teacher and is the founder of GuysRead.com, a literacy initiative for boys.

Francesco Sedita studied writing at the Gallatin School of New York University. While at Gallatin, he was a Writing Fellow for Saturday Night Live and upon graduation he wrote and directed a show that ran Off-Off-Broadway for 5 years. Miss Popularity is his first book, published by Scholastic in 2007. Francesco is the Creative Director at Scholastic. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Shane Prigmore is an accomplished professional in the animation, film, and illustration fields. Shane won an Annie Award for his design work on the stop motion feature Coraline. He has also contributed his numerous talents to such projects as: How to Train Your Dragon, The Croods, Rise of the Guardians, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and The Iron Giant...to name a few. Shane resides in Los Angeles.

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Sphdz 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I belive that this is a very fun entertaining book. I love this awsome book
Ronrose More than 1 year ago
Fifth grade was never this bad, was it? First day in a new school and the two kids sitting next to Michael K. are either the weirdest kids ever or they are space aliens. (Well they must be from outer space because Dillard Picklebury from my fourth grade class was the weirdest kid ever. But I digress.) Bob and Jennifer let Michael know right away, that they are spaceheadz from another planet. Michael wishes he was on another planet or at least not assigned to sit next to these two loonies. Despite his best efforts, he is repeatedly drawn into their company. He eventually starts to see things from their perspective. He finds himself saving them not only from the dangers of the local crosswalk, but also from the ever vigilant, often incompetent, Agent Umber, of AAA, the Anti Alien Agency. This book is a lot fun. It is full of good humor and many references to current catch phrases and slogans from television that young readers will be familiar with. References throughout the book are given to current websites created for the book, that will enhance the reader's enjoyment. Great fun, with situations that will amuse middle schoolers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found the characters amusing, and the usage of commercials humorous, but the book is not exactly a "great novel". It's more of a quick brainless read for kids who enjoy spontaneous humor.
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B123 More than 1 year ago
My nine year old son could have written a better novel. This book is absolutely one of the dumbest kids' books EVER. The storyline is a complete jumble. I read this to my son and he kept telling me how bored he was - and I agreed with him. We raced to get through the book to put ourselves out of misery. The only reason this book received 2 stars in my rating is because the format of the book was different and the illustrations were good. That's the only positive I could see with this book.
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