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Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers,
Summary: Even in his wildest dreams, Michael K. could not have predicted how weird his first day of school at PS 858 was going to be. Mrs. Halley grouped him with two other students, a boy and a girl who claimed they were spaceheadz from another planet. That wasn't too weird. At least not until they picked him to be their leader. Try as he might, Michael could not get away from these two. Was there any hope? This is the first book in this illustrated space adventure for young readers.
Type of Reading: independent reading, read aloud book, reluctant reader, transitional reader, illustrated chapter
Recommended Age: read together: 6 to 10; read yourself: 9 to 12
Interest Level: 6 to 10
Reading Level: 3.6
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: I love Scieszka's kookiness, but it took some time to get into this one. Michael is likable enough, but it takes a bit to adjust to Jennifer and Bob. Still, there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments and tons of action ... perfect for just about any young reader. Because of Michael's age and some of the antics, this does have some potential as a high interest-low readability book.
Pros: Quirky characters, free-styled text and cartoon-like graphics come together in this humorous, action-packed adventure. The short chapters give it great appeal for the intended audience.
Cons: Don't give up in the first few pages. Let a couple scenes play out - it's worth it.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. Fun to read, but you'll want to see if it fits your taste before you invest. The websites may be a way to get a sense of the stories, too.
Educational Themes: Kids will relate to Michael K's feelings of awkwardness, embarrassment, and frustration with the adults who don't believe them. The story shows how communication works (or doesn't), as well how we use cultural systems to judge others. Throughout the book, the authors take a step back to explain a science concept related to waves. In each case, the topic covered has a direct connection to that piece of the story.
Notes: The Reading Tub reviewed a pre-release edition of this book.
Literary Categories: Fiction - fantasy, adventure, humor, series