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Racing the Moon

2.78 of 5 stars 2.78  ·  rating details  ·  64 ratings  ·  27 reviews
An adventurous new work from Newbery Honor-Winning author, Alan Armstrong.

In the spring of 1947, outer space was an unexplored realm. But eleven year-old Alexis (Alex) Heart and her impulsive brother, Chuck, believe that the stars are within reach. In the midst of building their own rocket, Alex befriends Captain Ebbs, and an army scientist who is working to create food fo
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published June 26th 2012 by Random House Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2012)
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Original review posted on The Book Smugglers

It’s 1947, the War is over and exploration of outer space is starting to look like it could become a reality. 11-year-old Alex Hart and her older brother Chuck have been working on a Moon Station in their backyard and plan on building their own rocket, whatever it takes (and sometimes this “whatever” means outsourcing materials illegally). Although her parents and even her brother sometimes look down on Alex’s “unfeminine” behaviour, Alex finds an ally
Laura Aase
Alex is nine and her dare-devil brother, Chuck, is 17. In 1947 America the space race has begun and they are both obsessed with space and radar and flying. A new neighbor, who works for the space program, befriends the kids and helps their dreams to come true. I loved the space facts and history of the space race and the beginning of the cold war. I also liked the scientist character who was a "prisoner" because he worked for the Nazis during the war and we got him before the Russians did - the ...more
Miss Amanda
gr 5-7 211 pgs

1947, Maryland?. 11 year old Alex loves helping her older brother Chuck with his rocketship. The rocketship is just a tree house that they pretend is a rocketship, but Chuck is so good at building things from spare parts that it seems with Chuck anything is possible. When Alex meets Captain Ebbs, a new neighbor, she is excited to learn that Ebbs is an army rocket scientist. Will this be their chance to see a real rocket launch?

I would've liked it better but I found the backstory ab
"I learned that what counts most is being absolute master of oneself, resolute, never wavering, never undecided, never without a Next."

Racing the Moon, PP. 125-126, excerpt from John Smith's journal

I don't think Alan W. Armstrong is as widely known as most other Newbery Honor authors of his time. Though he averaged a new book every couple of years around that point in his career, his new novels weren't received to much talk about Newbery potential. Nonetheless, Alan W. Armstrong's brand of s
I requested this book on a whim after seeing that it was a historical novel, a genre close to my heart. I thought I saw something about a female main character with a love of adventure and dreams of the moon, which sounded different from my usual read.

Well, this ended up being kind of a weird read for me. There were a lot of threads and things I thought would be explored more but then weren't and things that were oddly brought in. For example, I had expected a story about young Alex following he
Alex, a sweet girl, and her older brother Chuck, are both obsessed with space and visiting the moon. Set in immediate post WWII America, the two meet Captain Ebbs, a woman contributing to the space effort by studying nutrition, and Wernher Von Braun, the former Nazi who joined the Americans after the war. Chuck constantly gets in trouble, stealing radio parts, crashing an airplane, and sneaking into high security military installations despite his promises to Ebbs to stay out of trouble.

Ebbs, r
Lori Cox
Alex Heart is an 11-year-old girl fascinated with space and flying. She has been building a space ship in her back yard; along with her older brother Chuck, a juvenile delinquent with dyslexia. No one has yet been in space as the year is 1947. To earn money for parts, she sells flowers and meets her new neighbor, “Ebbs”. Ebbs’s job is creating food for space. (Do you know crackers cannot be eaten in space as the crumbs will clog up equipment and go up your nose?) The trio set off down the Potoma ...more
Pam Torres
Armstrong has effectively juxtaposed Dr. Wenher von Braun, John Smith and Dr. Ebbs experiences against Alex and Chucks adventures illustrating the common traits of successful explorers and pioneers. Themes of following your dreams, looking outside the box and pushing through difficulty come through the narrative leaving the reader inspired to take their own risks to reach their dreams. Alex and Chuck learn some hard lessons about overcoming challenges and exploring new and different territory. W ...more
Poor characterization and pacing, and it features a very troubling justification for slave labor. Also, the John Smith plot feels forced. I wasn't terrible, but I wouldn't recommend it.
Red Balloon Bookshop
It's 1947. Alexis and her older brother, Chuck, are both struck with the Space Exploration "bug." They're building their own model rocket ship with everything they're learning about the space program. Imagine how excited Alex is when she meets Captain Ebbs, an army scientist who is creating food for the space program. With Ebbs's help, the siblings learn lots, have a great sailing adventure, and meet a famous space pioneer. The book provides great discussion topics like respecting yourself and o ...more
I really enjoyed reading this book and especially as an ebook! It worked well on my laptop and the pages turned like an actual book. It also had the drawings that I so much enjoyed seeing. The story was very good set just after WWII involved a girl and her older brother on the East coast of the US. Both of them were fascinated with space exploration, radar and rockets.

It reminded me of Rocket Boy in some ways. The older brother was determined to watch a launch and as his sister became friends wi
Interesting setting and characters, but the plot takes some credibility-stretching leaps. As with Whittington and Marco Polo, there is a second, historical, narrative that reflects the action in the main story. This time it's John Smith, the early colonist, and the link is his discovery of new lands, both physical and personal, which twines with Alex and her brother Chuck's interest in space. The relationship they develop with Ebbs (based on real-life space-food pioneer Jane Cotton Ebbs) is the ...more
There are quite a lot of wild antics in this book. I was taken aback at first for the lack of consequences for some of the more irresponsible actions of the characters. I was glad (as were the characters) when an caring adult finally took charge to help these kids toward their dreams. It is certainly a page turner. As a librarian I know that there are some kids that would really appreciate what this book has to say. I'm glad to have it to share with them.
Debbie Tanner
Very interesting characters in this one and I loved the connection to rockets and spying and women in strong roles. I found it interesting how everyone seemed to find excuses for Charlie's character...he stole things, broke into places and in general disregarded everyone's feeling or opinions in search of his own satisfaction. I found that a little surprising that people would be that forgiving. I liked the book overall though.
I just did not enjoy this book. The main character seems to be Alexis, but by the end it seems to be the brother. I was put off by how the brother constantly got in serious trouble, but suffered no consequences. And where were his parents?
Amazon recommends this book for ages 8 and up, but I don't want my son reading it and thinking if he destroys property and breaks rules, he'll just get a way with it.
Shanshad Whelan
There's some good stuff in here--and it's a book with it's heart in the right place. But I found most of the story difficult to read and keep track of. The writing just didn't quite come together for me, and I wound up reading pages without absorbing the story and what was happening. I wish I could rate it better, but it just never caught me up the way I wanted it to.
Interesting relationship between brother and sister through their love of space and the possibility of space travel. I liked the connection to John Smith and how it portrays how many different kinds of professionals were involved in the early space program. I found some of the situations a bit too unlikely, but mostly an enjoyable read.
Great Books
Eleven-year old Alexis and her impulsive brother Chuck are building a rocket, believing the moon is within reach. Befriending Captain Ebbs, a female army scientist who takes a genuine interest in the siblings, the trio have adventures that each of them will never forget. Reviewer 21
It was fun. By the end I was getting tired of the journal entries from Captain Smith. And ... seriously? Chuck and Alex need to learn some common sense.
Or maybe I am just a fuddy-duddy with no sense of adventure.
Three. But barely. Additional purchase for sure.
Set in 1947. I liked the comparisons between Captain John Smith and exploring to get to the moon. This was a very interesting book. Ebbs is certainly very patient with Alex and Chuck, especially since she has no children of her own.
Susan P
Good historical fiction, about the originals of space travel, but I didn't really ever get into this one. I enjoyed Alex's friendship with Captain Ebbs, but she and her brother just got into too much trouble to be believed.
A brother and sister fascinated with technology meet a neighbor who helps them in an unlikely adventure during which they meet Von Braun and observe a rocket launch.
Rockets, sailboats, a moon station in a tree. Historical adventurers and young engineers. Fine ingredients for cooking up a good story.
Linda Atkinson
Love Alex, love Ebbs, love Chuck and love all their adventures!
This book was just okay...just not very interesting.
Ms. Yockey
Jun 28, 2012 Ms. Yockey marked it as to-read
Random House
June 2012
Ask Tim
Dec 06, 2012 PWRL marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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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 pain ...more
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