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Akiko on the Planet Smoo
Cover of Akiko on the Planet Smoo
Akiko on the Planet Smoo
Akiko Series, Book 1

When this fourth-grader comes home from school one day, she finds an envelope waiting for her with no stamp and no return address. The message inside reads Dear Akiko: We are coming to get you. Meet us outside your bedroom window tonight at 8:00. Don't forget your toothbrush. How could anyone meet her outside her window? She lives on the 17th floor, for goodness sake. But that evening, as Akiko is preparing to study for tomorrow's geography test, she finds a small spacecraft hovering outside her window with two odd little men inside. They have been sent to whisk Akiko off to the Planet Smoo where she will lead a team enlisted to find the King of Smoo's kidnapped son, Prince Froptoppit. Akiko, the leader of a rescue mission? She's too timid to be on the school's safety patrol! So begins Akiko's adventure across the land of Smoo to find a prince and become a leader.

When this fourth-grader comes home from school one day, she finds an envelope waiting for her with no stamp and no return address. The message inside reads Dear Akiko: We are coming to get you. Meet us outside your bedroom window tonight at 8:00. Don't forget your toothbrush. How could anyone meet her outside her window? She lives on the 17th floor, for goodness sake. But that evening, as Akiko is preparing to study for tomorrow's geography test, she finds a small spacecraft hovering outside her window with two odd little men inside. They have been sent to whisk Akiko off to the Planet Smoo where she will lead a team enlisted to find the King of Smoo's kidnapped son, Prince Froptoppit. Akiko, the leader of a rescue mission? She's too timid to be on the school's safety patrol! So begins Akiko's adventure across the land of Smoo to find a prince and become a leader.

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Copies-
  • Available:
    0
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    5.7
  • Lexile:
    890
  • Interest Level:
    MG
  • Text Difficulty:
    4 - 5

Recommended for you

Excerpts-
  • Chapter 1

    My name is Akiko. This is the story of the adventure I had a few months ago when I went to the planet Smoo. I know it's kind of hard to believe, but it really did happen. I swear.

    I'd better go back to the beginning: the day I got the letter.

    It was a warm, sunny day. There were only about five weeks left before summer vacation, and kids at school were already itching to get out. Everybody was talking about how they'd be going to camp, or some really cool amusement park, or whatever. Me, I knew I'd be staying right here in Middleton all summer, which was just fine by me. My dad works at a company where they hardly ever get long vacations, so my mom and I have kind of gotten used to it.

    Anyway, it was after school and my best friend, Melissa, and I had just walked home together as always. Most of the other kids get picked up by their parents or take the bus, but Melissa and I live close enough to walk to school every day. We both live just a few blocks away in this big apartment building that must have been built about a hundred years ago. Actually I think it used to be an office building or something, but then somebody cleaned it up and turned it into this fancy new apartment building. It's all red bricks and tall windows, with a big black fire escape in the back. My parents say they'd rather live somewhere out in the suburbs, but my dad has to be near his office downtown.

    Melissa lives on the sixth floor but she usually comes up with me to the seventeenth floor after school. She's got three younger brothers and has to share her bedroom with one of them, so she doesn't get a whole lot of privacy. I'm an only child and I've got a pretty big bedroom all to myself, so that's where Melissa and I spend a lot of our time.

    On that day we were in my room as usual, listening to the radio and trying our best to make some decent card houses. Melissa was telling me how cool it would be if I became the new captain of the fourth-grade safety patrol.

    "Come on, Akiko, it'll be good for you," she said. "I practically promised Mrs. Miller that you'd do it."

    "Melissa, why can't somebody else be in charge of the safety patrol?" I replied. "I'm no good at that kind of stuff. Remember what happened when Mrs. Antwerp gave me the lead role in the Christmas show?"

    Melissa usually knows how to make me feel better about things, but even she had to admit last year's Christmas show was a big disaster.

    "That was different, Akiko," she insisted. "Mrs. Antwerp had no idea you were going to get stage fright like that."

    "It was worse than stage fright, Melissa," I said. "I can't believe I actually forgot the words to 'Jingle Bells.'"

    "This isn't the Christmas show," she said. "You don't have to memorize any words to be in charge of the

    safety patrol." She was carefully beginning the third floor of a very ambitious card house she'd been working on for about half an hour.

    "Why can't I just be a member of the safety patrol?" I asked her.

    "Because Mrs. Miller needs a leader," she said. "I'd do it, but I'm already in charge of the softball team."

    And I knew Melissa meant it, too. She'd be in charge of everything at school if she could. Me, I prefer to let someone else be the boss. Sure, there are times when I wish I could be the one who makes all the decisions and tells everybody else what to do. I just don't want to be the one who gets in trouble when everything goes wrong.

    "Besides," Melissa continued, "it would be a great way for you to meet Brendan Fitzpatrick. He's in charge of the boys' safety patrol." One thing about Melissa: No matter what kind of conversation you have with her, one way or...

About the Author-
  • Mark Crilley was raised in Detroit, Mich. After graduating from Kalamazoo College in 1988, he traveled to Taiwan and Japan, where he taught English to students of all ages for nearly five years. It was during his stay in Japan in 1992 that he created Akiko and the story of her journey to Smoo.


    From the Trade Paperback edition.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 31, 2000
    In this stylish debut, aliens from the Planet Smoo summon an Earth girl to find a kidnapped prince. Fourth-grader Akiko admits she has no experience as a rescuer: "I'm only ten years old... I don't have many years of anything." Nevertheless, Smoo's humanoid King Froptoppit insists that she help him to retrieve the prince from "an evil, misguided" Alia Rellapor. As exasperated yet compliant as Alice at the Mad Tea Party, Akiko agrees to lead the mission. The novel gets off to a rollicking start as she meets her teammates, among them a Han Solo-like spaceship pilot and a being called Poog, "a floating head... covered by pale purple-white skin that shimmered like smooth leather." Crilley gives Akiko a conversational voice and global flair. With her chunky pigtails and oversize eyes, the character looks like a cross between an anime character and a Raggedy Ann doll; her comical cyborg sidekicks recall sources as varied as Douglas Adams and Tintin author Herge. The rescuers spend the rest of the book battling and escaping a ruthless band of Sky Pirates and never even glimpse Alia Rellapor. After a dramatic buildup, Crilley leaves his well-drawn characters idling in outer space, awaiting the sequel. Those who prefer closure may be disappointed, but everyone else will likely stay on to complete the ride. All ages.

  • Publishers Weekly

    "[A] stylish debut."

Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Random House Children's Books
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Akiko on the Planet Smoo
Akiko Series, Book 1
Mark Crilley
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