The cover illustration depicts a two-headed alien in a space suit with a red lightbulb on it standing in front of a planet with two crisscrossing rings.
Space-obsessed Murphy Shannon is pumped that his sixth-grade class is visiting the Rayburne Observatory. Except, being a know-it-all means he's totally bored with the lectures he has to sit through. So when classmates Orly and Cleo say they should explore on their own, Murphy sneaks out with them. But when they come face-to-face with the strange Dr. Rayburne and his experiments, they realize they may be in way over their heads. A grand adventure in space may be in store for them, if they can survive...
Murphy Shannon is a kid who is obsessed with space, and dreams of being an astronaut in spite of his asthma. He's excited to go with friends Orly and Cleo to the Rayburne Observatory on a class trip and meet Dr. Sidney Rayburne, even though he has a history of being difficult to work with. After arriving, a man named Dr. Freed launches into a lecture about the history of astronomy, which bores Murphy as he knows all this. He suggests that they sneak out and take a look around the place.
They get caught by a woman named Dr. Jackson who tells them all to go home, before its too late. She runs off and the kids keep exploring until a man in a room they hide in calls security on them. Raybunrne comes in and is unhappy the kids are here, and informs them their class already left due to a kid getting sick. He says he can't bring them yet as he doesn't know the teacher's phone number and a taxi can't come up here. Instead, he will make the kids participate in something he is working on.
He has been working on a machine that can transport someone to another planet instantly, and he wants the kids to be the first to use it. The kids don't get a say in the matter and he hooks them to the machine right away. The kids start to feel themselves fade away and Murphy now finds himself in a strange land with a pink sky. He discovers he is invisible, and soon bumps into the girls. They walk into a village that is populated by people with two heads that thankfully speak English.
They try to talk to them but no one can hear them. However, after eating some dumpling-looking food from a cafeteria, they become visible. This turns out to be a bad thing as the aliens are shocked at the "one headers". A chef catches them but Orly tickles him so they are able to escape. They hide inside a place that has some clothes they use as disguises, and use mannequin heads to make them look like two-headers. After taking his pants off, a device falls that has a button with a label reading "Press This" but Murphy ignores it for now.
The disguise works but it doesn't take long for one of their fake heads to fall off, exposing them. They try to escape but get caught by some Planetary Guards who tell them one-headers aren't allowed on the planet because they fear they'll scare the children. They are taken to the planet's leader, Hoofer the Horrible, and are told they must dance in his presence. Hoofer tells them the kids will get a head transplant to become two-headers, then they will be free to go. But then he reveals he was joking and he isn't Hoofer, is just his "warm up act".
Murphy pulls out the device he found earlier, but pushing it only plays a message from Rayburne thanking them for taking part in this whole thing. They meet the real Hoofer, who speaks a language called "Gumbo" and tells the kid that English does not exist, even they he also speaks it. He thinks they shouldn't go home so they will dance for him forever.
Murphy uses his inhaler and the spray scares the aliens as it seems to hurt them. This makes Hoofer decides to the destroy the three. When Murphy days they're just kids, Hoofer says kids don't exist on this planet, nor do adults. They are taken to a room to be dissolved into particles of sand. However, the machine doesn't work and the kids use this chance to escape.
They run into Hoofer, who sends the kids back to the room, where the machine has been fixed. This time it works and they are zapped. But they soon find themselves back in Rayburne's observatory. They assume breaking up their molecules sent them back to where they came from. Their teacher is there, having realized they left the kids here. Upset about being used as a guinea pig, Murphy lies and tells Rayburne the machine didn't work and they just fell asleep.
The kids are take home. When Murphy takes out his inhaler, he hears a voice asking for a puff. He turns to see he has a grown a second head.
|Audiobook||Release date||Length||Narrated by||Published by|
|June 28, 2022||2 hours, 42 minutes||Joe Fria and Mark Sanderlin||Scholastic Inc.|
- The title of the book is a play on the title of the reality series Dancing With the Stars.
- The cover illustration's design featuring a blue background and an obscured alien face is slightly reminiscent to the poster of the 1982 movie The Thing.
- This book references Galileo, Sir Isaac Newton and Star Trek.
- During one of the lectures given by Rayburne, Murphy was the one who suggested to explore the place not his classmates named Orly and Cleo.
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