Saturday, October 3, 2015


Mark Kelly

Astrotwins -- Project Blastoff

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Summary (from Goodreads): A team of middle schoolers prepares for blastoff in this adventure from the author of the New York Times bestselling Mousetronaut, based on the childhoods of real-life astronauts Mark Kelly and his twin brother Scott.

It's a long, hot summer and Scott and Mark are in big trouble for taking apart (aka destroying) their dad's calculator. As a punishment, they're sent to their grandfather's house, where there's no TV and they have to do chores. And Grandpa is less tolerant of the twins' constant bickering. "Why don't you two work together on something constructive. What if you built a go-kart or something?" Grandpa suggests.

But it's not a go-kart the twins are interested in. They want to build a rocket. With the help of Jenny, nicknamed Egg, and a crew of can-do kids, they set out to build a real rocket that will blast off and orbit the Earth. The question soon becomes: which twin will get to be the astronaut?

Written by a NASA astronaut with four space flights under his belt, this exciting story includes extensive back matter on the space program with fantastic facts and details.

Amelia's Review:  It was good and it was funny.  This book was about two boys named Mark and Scott who wanted to build a rocket ship  A girl came over to help make the rocket; her name was Jenny, but they called her Egg.  A few other kids helped, too.  They made the rocket out of some metal bricks that they covered in duct tape.  The kids were very creative when they built the rocket, and they asked a science teacher at Egg's school what they could use for fuel, and they used sugar and molasses!  They actually sent Scott into space, for real! He came back to Earth and he landed in a lake, but that's okay because rockets are supposed to land in water.  I liked that the kids could figure out how to make a rocket even thought they aren't that old.  I would recommend this book to Noah because he likes space.

Amelia's Rating: 4 stars

Marcie's Review:  Amazon states that this book is recommended for grades 4-6, but the detail around the physics would likely be beyond the understanding of even a 6th grader.  I'm sure my second grader just glossed right over it.  The author is clearly trying to teach kids about science, engineering, math and rocketry (at times it felt very teachy to me), but it is done in the context of an engaging story with enough mischief to keep kids interested.  I was happy to find a book about kids doing STEM activities that my girly girl was interested in.  The only problem is that now she wants to build a rocket and launch it into space.

Marcie's Rating: 4 stars

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