Author: Jon Scieszka
Publication: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing (June 22, 2010)
Description: 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?
My Thoughts: This was an interesting and very funny illustrated novel. It is filled with Jon Scieszka's trademark zaniness.
Poor Michael K. would just like to slide seamlessly into his new fifth grade class but he has a couple of problems. Bob and Jennifer (and their supervisor Captain Fluffy who appears to be the class hamster) are aliens who have come to Earth to recruit 3.14 million plus 1 recruits to keep Earth from being turned off. The aliens have gotten their information about Earth from listening to commercials. The are constantly throwing in advertising slogans in their conversations. They have picked Michael K. to help because he appeared in a television commercial for an off-brand cereal under the slogan "I can do anything." They are being pursued by a very inept AAA agent. This time AAA is an acronym for Anti-Alien Agency. Agent Umber is trying very hard but the poor man just isn't very bright.
I liked the over-the-top humor and thought it would play well to middle school and upper elementary grade students. I also liked the link to the website that Michael K. set up at www.sphdz.com. You can bet that I registered. I don't want the Earth to be turned off. By the way, you may now refer to me as Ultrasoft Dill Pickle.
The illustrations by Shane Prigmore added a lot to the humor in this book. Scieszka also managed to sneak in some informational pages about a number of topics too. Readers will learn a bit about electromagnetic waves, animal communication and lots of other topics as they laugh along with this book.
Agent Umber tried to argue his case.
But no one, on any planet, in any galaxy, ever wins an argument with the school nurse.