When Luno's dad FINALLY gives him the responsibility of delivering pizza orders all over the galaxy, Luno is excited, mostly. He knows that delivering pizza is no walk on the moon. There are hostile customers, and there's always the threat of his deliveries being intercepted by Quantum Pizza, the fast-growing chain restaurant that will do anything to put indies like Zorgoochi Intergalactic out of business.
Luno is joined by his best friend Clive, a super-smart, talking clove of garlic, and Chooch, a not-so-smart, talking pizza oven. Their deliveries are often dangerous (try landing on a fire planet) and sometimes frustrating. All Luno wants to do is help his dad keep the family business afloat. He realizes that the owner of Quantum Pizza wants the Zorgoochi family recipe, and only Luno can protect it.
Zorgoochi Intergalactic Pizza is Dan Yaccarino's exciting and hilarious middle-grade debut.
|Product dimensions:||5.70(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.00(d)|
|Age Range:||8 - 12 Years|
About the Author
Dan Yaccarino has written and illustrated numerous picture books, including The Belly Book and Kate and Nate Are Running Late! for F&F, and Every Friday for Holt. He's also the creator of the animated TV series Oswald and Willa's Wild Life. He lives in New York City.
Read an Excerpt
Zorgoochi Intergalactic Pizza
Delivery of Doom
By Dan Yaccarino
Feiwel and FriendsCopyright © 2014 Dan Yaccarino
All rights reserved.
Six Years Later
"Vake up, boy!" Roog shouted, smacking Luno on the head with his metal claw as he tried to toss pizza dough in the air.
"No good enough!" barked Roog. "Again!"
Just like every morning, Luno tried to perfect the famous Zorgoochi Pizza Toss, and just like every morning, it was far from perfect. At least this time it didn't stick to the ceiling.
"I have trained all Zorgoochi for last two hundred year," barked Roog, "and you are vorst of all! Again!"
Even though he could barely feel his arms, Luno tried again.
And again and again and again and again.
Luno began to think he wasn't a Zorgoochi after all. Maybe there was a mix-up at the hospital and the real Luno Zorgoochi went home with another family and was out there somewhere tossing pizza dough perfectly.
And what would Dad think? How could Luno ever take over Zorgoochi Intergalactic Pizza with a crummy pizza toss?
In his zeal to master the Zorgoochi Pizza Toss, Luno went as far as to invent a pair of Memory Gloves, which he had his father wear when he tossed pizza dough. Once the microscopic circuitry recorded the movements of Geo's nimble fingers, then all Luno had to do was slip them on and the gloves would do all the work.
Unfortunately, the Memory Gloves malfunctioned and tried to strangle Luno.
"Your fazzer, he master Zorgoochi Pizza Toss vhen he vas ten!" Roog growled. "You cannot take over pizzeria unlezz you do Toss perfek!"
Roog shook his head in disgust. He had helped train every generation of Luno's family to make pizza since Solaro hired him, and from then on, he sort of came with the place. Luno had no idea how old Roog was, where he came from, or anything else about him other than he had a prosthetic metal claw from being wounded in the Great Pizza War of Deep Dish vs. Thin Crust, and liked to yell at him.
Every morning before school, Roog trained Luno in the basics of pizza making, including the dozens of hand signals, like baseball catchers used, to identify the different kinds of pizzas, as well as how to hold your breath underwater long enough to pick a bushel of Sea Garlic in the kitchen tank without drowning.
Every day after school Luno wrestled Cosmic Calamari, deflated Plutonian Pufferfish, and shucked giant snapping Space Clams, which was bad enough, but he also had a seafood allergy and had to wear a protective suit to handle them or he'd swell up like one of those Pufferfish he popped every day.
However, Luno still wasn't entirely sure how dodging flying pizza cutters, walking across hot coals, or taking apart and reassembling a pizza oven blindfolded had anything to do with making pizza.
"You call dis meatball, boy?" shouted Roog as he pelted Luno with meatballs with microscopic imperfections. "Your grandfazzer Pomodoro, he made perfek meatball no vun could bear eet, they ver so beautiful! Again!"
As Luno attempted to make perfect spheres of ground meat, he daydreamed about what it would be like to play sports, be in the school band, or just not have to work at his parent's pizzeria every morning and afternoon, and now that school was over, for the entire summer. But his reverie was cut short by a strange feeling on his leg.
Luno looked down and his spine froze. A Saturnian Sausage with a hungry look in its eye was slithering up his pant leg!
"Vhat are doing, zilly boy?" Roog bellowed. "Dat zausage iz about to keel you! Dere is no time to be afraid!"
Luno pulled the sausage off and whipped it into a massive bubbling pot of Zorgoochi special tomato sauce.
"Maybe I forget to lock cage, eh?" Roog chuckled. "It vas accident, I tink."
Roog seemed to have lots of "accidents," but only when no one else other than Luno was around. No matter how many times Luno complained, his parents never believed him. Once, Roog "accidentally" knocked Luno into the laundry dryer and he was left spinning for an hour until his mother discovered him tangled up with the aprons. Another time, Roog "absentmindedly" locked him in the walk-in cryogenic freezer for two days. Luno had to keep moving or he would've been frozen solid. It took a whole week for his eyebrows to defrost.
Luno had the sneaking suspicion that Roog was trying to kill him.
One thing Roog didn't yell at Luno about was his sense of smell. In fact, Luno was his school's Smelling Bee champ five years in a row.
Roog threw Luno into a chair and blindfolded him. Then he passed different herbs under his nose.
"Basil!" Luno said. "Parsley, sage, cayenne pepper — ah-choo!"
Then Roog waved another leaf under Luno's nose.
"Erba Zorgoochus." Luno smiled.
Roog pulled the blindfold off.
"Not bad. You inherited nose from great-great-great-great-great-grand-fazzer Solaro," Roog grunted. "A nose like his only happens every six generation. You are lucky, boy."
When Luno was younger and Roog told him that, he thought Roog only meant that he had a nose that was as super-sensitive as Solaro's, but now that he was thirteen, it was starting to look like he also inherited a nose as big as his ancestor's.
It also had its drawbacks. No matter how hard they tried, his parents were never able to successfully throw him a surprise birthday party because he could always smell the cake before he saw it.
"Okay, boy," Roog said. "Time to make de pizza."CHAPTER 2
Surprise (But Not the Good Kind)!
Luno sat on an overturned tomato basket and breathed in the dozens of aromas in the garden behind the pizzeria. It still was his favorite place to be — and to get away from Roog. He closed his eyes and let the rays of the three suns warm his face as he leaned against the greenhouse.
"Luno!" his father barked. Luno wheeled around with a start and saw his parents ambling toward him.
"We need to talk to you about something," said Geo.
The last time his father said that, he had to start working in the kitchen every day before and after school and on weekends and in the summer.
"I still don't think it's a good idea," Connie said, "but your father thinks you're ready."
"For what?" Luno asked, his stomach flip-flopping.
"To be Zorgoochi Intergalactic Pizza's new delivery boy," said Geo.
Luno suddenly forgot how to blink.
"So?" Geo asked hopefully. "What do you say, son?"
Luno didn't know what to say. Sure, he was happy about not spending another summer down in the hot kitchen with Roog, wrestling angry sausages, getting shocked by electric olives, or being bitten by wild mushrooms. But driving around the galaxy delivering pizzas — all by himself?
Luno's parents never allowed him to leave the planet, but he always dreamed of going out into the cosmos ever since he turned twelve and got his galactic driver's license. He'd been begging his parents to let him drive on his own and now it was actually happening!
Luno was about to ask why William10, the Zorgoochi's outdated robot delivery autopilot, couldn't do the job, but then he remembered. Sporting a major dent in his side, most likely from a particularly dangerous delivery, William10 was so old and banged-up, they retired him to Rusty Acres on Planet Rur, a planet for old robots, when he could no longer control his radioactive gas emissions. The Zorgoochis couldn't afford another robot, so not only did his father make the pizzas, he delivered them, too, which was probably why he was so tired and grumpy all the time.
Luno realized he finally did get what he wanted — but only sort of. He felt his heart beat faster and didn't know whether it was because he was happy or scared ... or both.
Zooming around the galaxy could be fun, but he worried he might get lost, not get paid, or, even worse, get eaten by an unhappy customer! Luno even heard that his great-great-great-uncle Tempo went out on a delivery and never came back!
He noticed his mom's anxious expression, but his father just looked kind of weary. The twinkle in his eye had dulled just about the time Quantum Pizza, Mezzaluna Galaxy's largest pizza chain, opened a few years ago.
All his life, Luno heard over and over how hard his ancestors had worked to keep Solaro's dream alive. Luno also knew that now with Quantum Pizza in their galaxy, his family's little pizzeria had big competition, especially since Quantum had been intercepting Zorgoochi's pizza orders and delivering them first. Zorgoochi couldn't beat Quantum's drive-thru/fly-thru windows, edible delivery boxes, and free gravity with every purchase, either. Quantum even started installing APMs (automatic pizza machines) everywhere, so anyone could have pizza anytime they wanted. Nobody seemed to mind that it just didn't taste very good.
A few months ago, Quantum had taken so much business away from Zorgoochi Intergalactic Pizza that his dad couldn't pay the monthly gravity bill. Everything floated around the pizzeria until he got enough money together to pay it. Luno knew they would have to work even harder to keep the family business going and his parents really needed his help. He couldn't let them down.
Besides, whether he liked it or not, Luno knew it was time he joined the proud Zorgoochi line. Every ancestor had contributed something to Zorgoochi Intergalactic Pizza. But how could he even come close to achieving something like the famous String Cheese Theory of his great-great-great-aunt Genia, the physicist? Or his great-great-great-grandfather Infinito's invention of the Pizza Ball, which you used to play spaceball but, afterward, ate it.
But what would Luno's contribution be? When he wasn't in the kitchen, Luno spent most of his time trying to come up with an idea for the pizzeria that would bring the sparkle back to his father's eyes, but nothing he ever created made his father happy — or actually worked. The teleportation device that delivered pizza using radio waves, the liquid pizza that filled you up and quenched your thirst at the same time, and the pizza seed that could be planted and harvested — all disasters.
Luno even managed to screw up something as simple as a pizza bagel and accidentally made a pizza beagle, which bit him.
He wasn't the greatest speller.
Other times Luno just wanted to be an ordinary spacekid, not one who worked in his family business. Maybe he didn't want to take over the pizzeria someday and toss pizza dough for the rest of his life. Maybe he wanted to do something else.
And that's where he always got stuck. What did he truly want to do? Luno could never figure that part out. All he knew was pizza. His father said tomato sauce ran through the Zorgoochi veins.
In school, when other kids were voted Most Likely to Succeed or Most Likely to Be the Most Famous Life-Form in Five Dimensions, Luno was voted Most Likely to Make Pizza for the Rest of His Life.
He knew he couldn't fight it. It was his destiny.
His father looked at him with tired eyes, hoping Luno would agree to be Zorgoochi Intergalactic Pizza's new delivery boy.
"So?" Geo asked. "What do you say, son?"
"Um, okay," Luno said. "I guess so."CHAPTER 3
Quite Preposterous, Highly Illogical, and Utterly Unscientific
No sooner had Connie's tears, hugs, and kisses stopped than Geo announced that Luno would be making his first deliveries — in ten minutes!
Luno swallowed hard and before he could set off to his room to get dressed, Geo placed a hand on his shoulder.
"Grazie, son," he said with weary relief. "Thank you." But then he looked around, making sure Connie was out of earshot.
"Y'know, this isn't going to be like those stories about Solaro I used to tell you when you were a little boy," Geo said, referring to all the tales he had told him about his great-great-great-great-great-grandfather and the Golden Anchovy, which Luno eventually found out had all been made up by his father.
"That was for fun. This is for real," Geo said, putting his hand on Luno's shoulder. "We need you — Zorgoochi Intergalactic Pizza needs you to be grown up and responsible now. Capish?"
"I understand," said Luno.
"It can get dangerous out there and I want you to promise you'll be careful," Geo said.
Luno looked at his feet and nodded.
"Your mother," Geo said awkwardly, "she — y'know — worries about you."
"It's okay, Dad," Luno replied. "I-I won't let you down."
* * *
As Luno walked down the hallway toward his room, the door sensed his approach and gave a soft hiss as it rose up from the floor. He walked in. As usual, Clive was sitting at Luno's desk tinkering with one of his gadgets.
Earlier in the semester, Luno had an assignment for Galactic Biology class to shoot an ordinary, everyday piece of organic matter full of gamma rays and record the results. He chose a bulb of garlic from the kitchen, thinking he'd create a new taste sensation for his dad's pizzas, but all he ended up with was a vegetable-based know-it-all.
Luno had no idea where this oversize garlicky genius got the lab coat and tie.
"Good afternoon, Mr. Zorgoochi," Clive said.
"Will you please stop calling me Mr. Zorgoochi?" Luno asked for the millionth time since Clive sprouted a few months ago.
"Certainly, Mr. Zorgoochi," replied Clive, not looking up, as he pecked away at a small handheld device he'd assembled from six pop bottle caps, a discarded atomic generator, and a pizza cutter.
It seemed to Luno that Clive's favorite things to do were building gadgets, studying the universe, and annoying him, but he had to admit Clive was good to have around for help with Molecular Mathematics homework.
Besides, for a super-intelligent gamma-ray-infused mutant bulb of garlic, Clive wasn't so bad.
Luno was Clive's best friend, if he actually had one. Clive's second-best friend was a mold spore he kept in a petri dish in the back of the closet.
Clive was actually Luno's second attempt at his Galactic Science class homework. His first was shooting an eggplant full of gamma rays, which turned out to be a catastrophe. It sprouted legs and ran around the kitchen eating everything in sight, including Luno's pet pizza beagle. It was the first time in the universe someone's homework ate their dog.
Suddenly, the room began to shake.
CLUNK! CLANK! CLUNK!
The walls shuddered from the approach of heavy metallic footsteps. It could only be one person. Well, it wasn't exactly a person; it was Chooch.
Before the door panel could rise, all 32 galactic tons of him burst right through it.
"Oops," he squeaked. "I keep forgetting to wait for the door to open first. Sorry, Luno."
Last spring break, when Luno had to work in the kitchen while other kids were zooming around the galaxy having way more fun than him, Connie suggested he make a new friend, so Luno dragged in an old pizza oven from the junkyard across the street and some electronics destined for recycling, got out his toolbox, and did just that. Unfortunately, Luno had a steady C- average in robotics and his new friend didn't exactly turn out the way he'd hoped.
C.H.O.O.C.H. (Computerized Hydrogen-Operated Oscillating Cybernetic Humanoid) was a 32-galactic-ton whiney pizza oven, who loved kittens, bright colors, and ice cream, but was afraid of clowns, broccoli, and being left alone in the dark. It was as if Luno had an incredibly accident-prone crybaby little brother who was about ten thousand times bigger than him and who followed him everywhere. Luno sort of got used to him and decided not to disassemble him — for now.
"I'm so clumsy!" Chooch began to blubber.
"I know you didn't mean to smash the door" — Luno sighed — "again," patting him on the back as brake fluid poured out of Chooch's eyes and all over the floor. "It was just an accident."
"You're right, Luno," sniffed Chooch, "I shouldn't cry over chilled milk."
"Hmmm," said Clive. "It appears that Chooch has sprung a leak."
"He's crying, Clive," said Luno. "You do it when your feelings get hurt."
"Please define 'feelings,' Mr. Zorgoochi," said Clive, eagerly taking notes.
For someone who's IQ was about 500 times higher than any human's, Clive sure didn't know a lot. Before Luno could explain, he heard a shout from the kitchen.
"Hey, Luno!" Geo called. "You've got deliveries! Andiamo! Get a move on!"
Luno mopped up Chooch's tears, changed his clothes, and then ducked through the broken door.
Moments later, Luno was climbing the stairs to the roof where the pizza delivery pod was parked, when Roog appeared, blocking his way.
"Zo," Roog grunted. "I hear you now make deli-wery, eh, boy?"
"Yes, I now make delivery," Luno said suspiciously, waiting for Roog to give him a live scorpion sandwich or dangle him out the window by his boots and tell him it was part of his pizza training.
"De universe, she big place, ya? Lots of danger for leetle boy like you," Roog said, placing his metal claw on Luno's shoulder and looking him in the eye. "Be careful, Luno."
Excerpted from Zorgoochi Intergalactic Pizza by Dan Yaccarino. Copyright © 2014 Dan Yaccarino. Excerpted by permission of Feiwel and Friends.
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