cover image Racing the Moon

Racing the Moon

Alan Armstrong, illus. by Tim Jessell. Random, $16.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-375-85889-5

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[s] 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)