Synopses & Reviews
"In 1947, 11-year-old Alexis and her unpredictable 17-year-old brother, Chuck, have a big dream: to go to Mars. Self-described 'student of space,' they've built a 'moon station' tree house, researched radar, and are planning to build their own rocket using real gunpowder. When they meet Captain Ebbs, a (real-life) army scientist who develops food for pilots, she, unlike other adults, takes them seriously and encourages them to plan their scientific career. At Ebbs's invitation, the siblings join the scientist on a sailing trip down the Potomac River to watch a secret rocket launch, following in the footsteps of Ebbs's distant relative Capt. John Smith. Middle-grade — friendly versions of Smith's journals are woven throughout the latter half of the book, revealing the similarities of their adventures. Newbery Honor author Armstrong (Whittington) works a good deal of scientific and historical information into his story without affecting its pace, energy, or style. It's a lively historical adventure with ready appeal to space enthusiasts and those with an appetite for adventure. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8 – 12. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Armstrong (with the help of Jessell's spot art) captures the essence of youthful pluck, and Chuck's determination to learn at all costs is something that readers can admire." Booklist
About the Author
Alan Armstrong started volunteering in a friend's bookshop when he was eight. At 14, he was selling books at Brentano's. As an adult, every so often, he takes to the road in a VW bus named Zora to peddle used books. He is the editor of Forget Not Mee & My Garden
, a collection of the letters of Peter Collinson, the 18th-century mercer and amateur botanist. He lives with his wife, Martha, a painter, in Massachusetts.
Tim Jessel's work has been recognized by the Society of Illustrators Annual Exhibitions, receiving the Society's Gold Medal Award. He is also the winner of AdWeek Magazine's Illustrator of the Year. His work can be seen in the bestselling series Secrets of Droon, Superhero Christmas (written by Stan Lee of Marvel Comics), and covers for the reissue of Zilpha Keatley Snyder's Newbery Honor Books. Tim has been a guest speaker to professional graphic communication groups and enjoys speaking to student groups as well.