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  • Akiko and the Great Wall of Trudd
  • Written by Mark Crilley
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780385729918
  • Our Price: $4.99
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Akiko and the Great Wall of Trudd

Written by Mark CrilleyAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Mark Crilley

eBook

List Price: $4.99

eBook

On Sale: November 13, 2001
Pages: 176 | ISBN: 978-0-385-72991-8
Published by : Delacorte Books for Young Readers RH Childrens Books
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ABOUT THE BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ABOUT THE AUTHOR
PRAISE PRAISE
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

Akiko's back! No longer simply a shy fourth-grade girl, she's become an intergalactic leader, taking her band of would-be heroes on a quest to find a kidnapped prince!

Armed with a map showing the way to Alia Rellapor's castle, Akiko, Mr. Beeba, Spuckler, Gax, and Poog are nearing the end of their mission. But first they have to scale the Great Wall of Trudd. Like the Great Wall of China only bigger, the Great Wall of Trudd stretches across the landscape -- there's no way around it, under it, or through it. So Akiko and the gang will just have to find a way to go over it!

But the Great Wall is just one of the many strange obstacles in their path that Akiko must overcome if she's finally to rescue Prince Froptoppit.

Excerpt

Chapter One

The road grew narrower and narrower, with patches of incredibly tall grass creeping in from either side. The sun was right in the middle of the sky, and the air was hot and very humid. It was pretty quiet, apart from the sound of our feet on the dirt road and some weird insect noises coming from deep in the grass. I felt as if

I were on a field trip or something back at the Middleton Nature Park, and I had to keep reminding myself that I was actually thousands of miles from Earth, walking along a little dirt road somewhere on the planet Smoo.

Spuckler Boach was out in front, leading the way, with his robot Gax rolling along behind him on his squeaky little wheels. Mr. Beeba and I followed, and Poog was floating in the air just above our heads.

"So tell us, Akiko," Mr. Beeba said, "what were you doing on the night Bip and Bop came to bring you here to the planet Smoo?"

"I was in my bedroom studying for a geography test," I replied, recalling all the weird stuff that had happened that night. The letter I'd received. The tapping sound on my window. The strange little spaceship floating outside, with the strange little men seated in it. It all seemed so long ago and far away. Well, it certainly was far away. Light-years away! But it really wasn't so long ago. Just a few days, as a matter of fact. With all the crazy stuff that had happened, though, it felt as if I'd been on the planet Smoo for months.

"Studying, eh?" Mr. Beeba said, sounding very pleased with me. "I had a feeling you were the academic sort, Akiko. Every spare moment with your nose in a book, eh? Keep it up and one day you could be an emissary of King Froptoppit, like me! You are planning to pursue a master's degree, I trust."

"Master's degree?" I repeated. "I'm only ten years old, Mr. Beeba. I'm still trying to figure out long division."

"You tell 'im, 'Kiko," Spuckler said enthusiastically, strutting along the road with his usual boundless energy. "You ain't no bookworm. I had ya pegged as an adventurer the minute I saw ya. I'll bet you were chompin' at the bit to get goin' just as soon as King Froptoppit told you about the Prince bein' kidnapped."

Ha! If Spuckler had seen how I had really reacted when I was asked to lead the Prince's rescue mission, he'd have had a very different first impression of me. Looking back, though, I felt glad that I'd been forced to stay on Smoo. For one thing, becoming friends with Spuckler and Mr. Beeba was fun, even if it meant spending a lot of time trying to keep them from driving each other crazy. Gax was really cool too. I mean, how many fourth-graders get to make friends with a robot? Then there was Poog. I turned and looked at him, his round purple body floating effortlessly in the air above me, his big black eyes sparkling in the midday sun. I knew that becoming friends with Poog was going to change my life forever.

"I don't know if I'd call myself an adventurer, Spuckler," I said at last. "But I've definitely had fun on this rescue mission so far. There's been some pretty scary stuff too. But plenty of fun in between."

"Now, don't rule out the idea of becoming an academic, Akiko," Mr. Beeba said, refusing to give up the idea. "Spending the day in a reference library can be every bit as adventurous as rescuing a kidnapped prince!"

Spuckler rolled his eyes and kept walking.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
Mark Crilley

About Mark Crilley

Mark Crilley - Akiko and the Great Wall of Trudd

Photo © Mary Moylan

Mark Crilley was raised in Detroit, Michigan. After graduating from Kalamazoo College, he traveled to Taiwan and Japan, where he taught English for nearly five years. It was during his stay in Japan that he created Akiko.

In 1998, Mark Crilley was named to Entertainment Weekly’s “It List” of the 100 most creative people in entertainment.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I had to draw pictures for a living or I’d go crazy . . .

I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to be an author or illustrator until I was 28 years old! I taught English in Taiwan and Japan for five years—and seriously considered spending the rest of my life overseas—before finally realizing I had to draw pictures for a living or I’d go crazy. At first I was writing mainly just to give myself something to illustrate. Only recently have I come to see myself as a ‘real’ author.

Ever since I discovered that there were people out there willing to pay me to make up stories and draw strange creatures all day, I knew there was no turning back. “This,” I thought, “is the job for me.” And I still think that, every day.

He taught me to push myself harder, to hold myself to a higher standard . . .

I was very fortunate to be among the last people to study under David Small, the 2001 Caldecott Medal Winner, back when he was still an art instructor at Kalamazoo College. In fact, I was there just after he’d completed Imogene’s Antlers and saw all the original artwork. David definitely was a huge influence on me as an illustrator. He taught me to push myself harder, to hold myself to a higher standard.

When I was growing up, all my favorite writers and illustrators could be found in one place: Mad magazine! Looking back, I think you can definitely see the influence. Still, my mother did make sure that I saw all the great children’s books, and I recall being especially wild about a lavishly illustrated edition of Pinocchio.

I’m one of those writers who believes in total spontaneity . . .

Just sit down and make it up as you go along. Of course, this doesn’t really fly in the world of children’s books, so I do have to plan my books out as best I can. Still, I think a lot of the really good ideas come unexpectedly, popping up out of the blue when you’re halfway through the story.

How can I make this story different?

I start with a general sense of the sort of story I want to tell—a journey into a mystical land, for instance—then ask myself the questions I need to answer to write the story: Who is the main character? How does he/she get to the mystical land? How can I make this story different from all the other stories that follow this pattern? The real trick is to get beyond the obvious ideas to the truly unusual ideas. This requires time, thought, and lots of long walks.

Akiko is mainly based on Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz and Alice from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

I wrote the first story while living in Japan, so I chose a common Japanese name—Akiko—as the name for my “Alice.”

Akiko has a knack for getting along with pretty much anyone, so I think the two of us would get on swimmingly. She would probably describe me as “a pretty nice guy, but he needs to get out more often.”

I hope there is a quiet theme in the Akiko novels about the important role a child plays . . .

I initially felt I was writing for a general audience: the sort of men, women, and children who read Calvin and Hobbes. Now I’ve read enough interviews with other children’s authors to realize we all think we’re writing for a general audience.

Truthfully, I don’t think too much about the age of the reader, more about the sort of reader I’m trying to reach: someone who likes imagining other worlds, going on adventures, laughing on one page and being frightened on the next.

I think there’s a natural “all ages groove” that writers can get into, and before long you’re doing it without even thinking.

Some days I’m convinced my books have no message whatsoever and are simply pure fluff from start to finish! Still, I hope there is a quiet theme in the Akiko novels about the important role a child plays in the world, and how, in many instances, a little kid has more sense than the adults surrounding her.

PRAISE

AKIKO ON THE PLANET SMOO
“[A] stylish debut.”—Publishers Weekly

“The action is fast-paced and nicely illustrated . . . and Crilley’s easy-reading, conversational style is appealing.”—Booklist
Praise

Praise

Akiko’s back! No longer simply a shy fourth-grade girl, she’s become an intergalactic leader, taking her band of would-be heroes on a quest to find a kidnapped prince! Fabulous illustrations interspersed throughout.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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