“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

SPHDZ Book #1! • Middle-Grade Fiction Illustrated

SPHDZ Book #1!  Middle-Grade Fiction Illustrated 
Available now  Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers  Ages 7 - 10
Story: 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?

Story behind the story: Here's what author Jon Scieszka has to say about SPHDZ:

"The story is told through a series of books, websites, blogs, tweets, microwaves, videos, logos, slogans, cereal boxes, ads, jingles, kids' writing/drawing/creating, and more. The story requires readers to be critical thinkers, media judges and active participants.  You must BE SPDZ to SAVE THE WORLD.

I thought up SPACEHEADZ as a fun way for kids to fool around with the very real work of what is probably the most vital 21st century educational skill – becoming Media Literate. 

Kids will laugh at the SPHDZ frantic desire for toilet paper (because it is Ultra-Strong!) and deodorant (because it promises All Day Protection!) . . . but they will end up becoming media-savvy, critical consumers as they help the SPHDZ navigate our ad-crazy world.

Check out the Whole Grain! Long Lasting! SPHDZ Book #1 and the first round of Extra Strength! websites.  We need you to


--Jon No-Pulp! Scieszka

Visit the author online at www.jsworldwide.com, become at SHDZ at www.SPHDZ.com, and learn all the AAA’s secrets at www.antialienagency.com.

Be sure to watch the Spaceheadz book trailer to learn more!

“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.” –School Library Journal starred review


Anonymous said...

It did not take long for this book to fly of my shelf. For my sixth grade reluctant readers this book is very popular. These students enjoy graffic novels so the SPHDZ books has caught their attention. I look forward to having more of the series on my shelves to share. This book gets a 4 in my basket.

Julia Pitau said...

This was not a book for me at all!
A chapter of "hamster" talk? Please! And there are children's books I enjoy, such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid. That being said, I turned to the students at our school and it has been a 50/50 result; half the students don't want to touch it while the other half LOVE it.

Picnic Rating: 2.5

Denair Charter Academy
Denair, CA

M. Battista said...

Jon Scieszka does know what guys want to read! I must admit that I did not get this book. It was choppy and just too goofy for me. I left it on my desk for a few days while I tried to think of how I was going to review it. I planned on rating it a 2. Well...a few 4th grade boys discovered it and L-O-V-E,LOVE IT! So my hat is off to Scieszka once again. Our 4th grade boys rate it a 5!

Denair Elementray School
Denair, CA

Heather said...

Michael K. knows he is in for a year of trouble when on his first day of fifth grade he gets stuck with the two new kids. They shout out random phrases and let him know right away that they are SPHDZ from another planet and need his help to get 3.14 million other SPHDZ's on Earth, or it will be canceled. There's also an agent (Agent Umber-all the good names were already taken) from the AAA or Anti-Alien Agency on the lookout for the aliens.

Overall a bit strange, but kids will eat it up. The illustrations and science facts add to the fun. I would hand this to Captain Underpants fans or parents who don't want the 'potty humor' of some goofy books. This one is just wacky fun.

Rating: 3.5

Heather Hill said...

SPHDZ by Jon Scieszka started off oddly, but I don't think that will deter boys or lovers of graphic novels. By the end of the book, I, much like Michael K., was invested in the plot and curious about where the next book would take Michael K. in pursuit of more SPHDZ to save his SPHDZ friends.

I give the book at 4 out of 5. It will be a popular addition to our school library.

Heather Hill, Reading Specialist
Enterprise Elementary
Woodbridge, VA