The Pea has a voracious literary appetite, and she's constantly on the lookout for new books to read. She's the type who borrows a dozen books at a time from our local library, then goes back the next day to get more.
3Po and Jammy aren't quite there yet. At 6 and a half, they're reading now, but they don't read well enough (or aren't confident enough that they do) to seek out books to read on their own. But I remember when they were babies and I was freaking out because they didn't want to sit and look at books with me. It turns out all they needed were books that they were interested in. Once I bought a couple of board books about trucks and wheels and race cards, they couldn't get enough. I think it's going to be the same thing with independent reading -- once they find a book series that captures their attention, they're going to sit and read it because they want to find out what happens.
I recently discovered a new book series that might just be one of those kinds of books that's going to help ignite my boys' passion for reading. I was recently invited to review (and give away!) Spaceheadz, book 1 in a series about a 4th grader who discovers he's got some aliens in his class. It'll probably be 6 months to a year before they can read it on their own, but already they're enjoying it. I think they might even attempt to read it by themselves sooner because they really like the story!
Here's the book's storyline:
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?
Spaceheadz is out of this world! Here's what I like best about it:
* It's an easy read, which means that reluctant or insecure readers won't be too stressed out about finishing it. And the abundant illustrations and variety of fonts make it almost like a comic book, which means that even kids who don't think it's cool to read will have no problem opening this book in front of their friends.
* It's funny and entertaining and irreverent. Jon Scieszka, the author, really has his finger on the funnybone of kids today (Jon's Trucktown series has been a favorite of 3Po and Jammy's for a while now, and his Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Fairytales is just plain hilarious). Who else would devote a whole chapter to a monologue written by a hamster, in hamster language? I saw The Pea giggling to herself throughout the book, and ever since she found out that Spaceheadz Book 2 is scheduled to go out in December, she's been bugging me to reserve it.
* The SPHDZ fun continues online, long after the book has been read. Kids can log on to the Anti Alien Agency to view and read more about past agency cases, including the gory details of the infamous Fried Santa Incident. They can tweet with Major Fluffy on Twitter or read his blog (just make sure you can read hamster). They can interact with Bob Spaceheadz on Facebook or watch videos on Jennifer Spaceheadz's Youtube channel. They can even check out Michael K's fourth grade class website. It's the best integration of print, internet and social media I've seen!
Sometimes I feel the book is too gimmicky; at times I got quite distracted with all the SPHDZ stickers and the crazy drawings. And I couldn't figure out how to pronounce SPHDZ (spudz? ssffdzz?) until I went online and viewed the video below.
Or maybe I just need to chill out and BE SPHDZ.
The Bottom Line
Spaceheadz is a Quicker Picker Upper, 100% All Natural, Powder Fresh and Out of This World. If any book is going to turn reluctant readers into bookworms, this might be it!
Win a Spaceheadz Gift Pack
Three lucky Bonggamom Finds readers will receive:
* Copy of Spaceheadz
* Spaceheadz Branded Pencils
Leave a comment on this post with your favorite TV commercial or ad slogan. This entry must be completed before extra entries qualify.
For extra entries, you can do any or all of the following. Please leave a separate comment for each extra entry with a way to verify the entry (i.e. tweet link, blog post link, Facebook id, Twitter id, etc.).
1) Become a SPHDZ, then come back here and leave a comment with your official SPHDZ name and number (3 entries).
Check out my personal SPHDZ certificate below (don't worry, you won't have to leave any personal information to get yours):
2) Upload a photo with your SPHDZ certificate on it to the Bonggamom Finds Facebook page wall. (3 entries).
3) Upload a photo with a SPHDZ sticker on it to the Bonggamom Finds Facebook page wall. You can check out some of Bob Spaceheadz's photos or Jennifer Spaceheadz's photos (both on Flickr) for inspiration (5 entries).
4) Follow Major Fluffy on Twitter (1 entry).
5) Tweet this, up to once per day (1 entry per day, leave a comment with the tweet link for each tweet):
@MajorFluffy and @bonggafinds are giving away 3 prize packs featuring Jon Scieszka's book, "Spaceheadz"! www.bonggafinds.com
This giveaway ends at 11:59PM PST on September 20, 2010; I will draw 3 winners at random on September 21 and post the winner's name after the winners confirm acceptance. For additional giveaway rules, click here. Good luck!
Disclosure: I received a sample book, but was not paid to review the product or give my opinions. Product information is provided by the featured company/product and is clearly indicated as such. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.