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Oliver, the Spaceship, and Me

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Friendship proves to be as complicated at rocket science in this zany process book with art that's out of this world. It covers all the steps in designing and building a machine, then launches into a whimsical fantasy.

Unbelievable! Oliver invited Kevin Shipman instead of his best friend to go to the planetarium for his birthday. Well, his best friend has a trip of his own trip planned. He's going to zoom right into space in his own rocket ...
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Overview

Friendship proves to be as complicated at rocket science in this zany process book with art that's out of this world. It covers all the steps in designing and building a machine, then launches into a whimsical fantasy.

Unbelievable! Oliver invited Kevin Shipman instead of his best friend to go to the planetarium for his birthday. Well, his best friend has a trip of his own trip planned. He's going to zoom right into space in his own rocket ship-and leave Oliver behind. With some help from an engineer, a metal fabricator, a welder, a plumber, an electrician, and a fabulous artist, the spaceship is ready to blast off. But who should get the first ride in the single passenger seat?
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Candice Ransom
Carter and Oliver are best friends. They "love all the same things—especially planning to be astronauts someday." On Oliver's birthday, he is allowed to invite one friend to the planetarium, but he takes another boy instead of Carter. Carter is so mad he vows to build his own spaceship and fly off into space without his former best friend. He turns his I'll-show-him attitude into good ol' can-do American spirit. He sketches a plan of his spaceship, complete with meteor detectors and a compartment for candy and soda, then draws up a list of subcontractors. His grown-up helpers, from the architect to the electrician, accept the first ride as payment. All goes well until the end, when Carter realizes he only has one extra seat. Who will he take on his first journey? Reed's illustrations are enormously appealing. Naive, bold, acrylic figures are reminiscent of a child's finger painting. The reader feels he created the art himself. Photoshop-collaged tools and building materials add a touch of realism, further fueling the reader's imagination. In books, all things are possible, even blasting off into outer space in a homemade spaceship with one's forever best friend. This title is charming and fun. Reviewer: Candice Ransom
School Library Journal

K-Gr 2

Oliver is supposed to be Carter's best friend, so when he chooses another boy to take to the planetarium for his birthday, Carter decides to seek revenge by building a spaceship and blasting off without him. His plan includes getting a professional blueprint, cutting the metal, welding the pieces together, and then adding plumbing, electricity, and decorations. He finds various adults (with names like Ms. Joiner and Mr. Sparks) to help him build it, and he promises each one a seat on the rocket's maiden voyage. But when the ship is built, Carter realizes that he can only invite one person along since there are only two seats. Thanking all his helpers, he decides to blast off with Oliver instead. The artwork is a mishmash of blobby, childish-looking acrylic painting and construction objects done in Photoshop, and the combination doesn't blend very well. Although Oliver can be seen spying on the spaceship-building process in each of the pictures, he does nothing to regain Carter's trust and seems unworthy of the honor bestowed upon him. The book summary calls this a book about friendship, but the text does little to support the concept. Although Carter is upset about Oliver choosing another kid to join him on an adventure, he ends up doing much the same thing when he breaks his promises to the people who help him.-Martha Simpson, Stratford Library Association, CT

Kirkus Reviews
Carter is miffed when his best friend, Oliver, chooses someone else to go to the planetarium on his birthday. After all, they were planning on being best astronaut friends in the future. So Carter decides to build a spaceship, and phooey on Oliver. Reed's razzmatazz mixed-media artwork, with its juicy, funky acrylics and boldly incorporated photographs, floats the project as it flows from engineer to sheet-metal worker, welder, plumber and electrician. By now, readers could easily have forgotten about Oliver-a rather flimsy pretext for launching the project, anyway-except his little head keeps poking up on each page. But Carter is too involved in the job to notice. It is gratifying to watch the ship take shape and for young readers to meet such working folk as Mr. Cutler the sheet-metal worker and Ms. Joiner the welder. When Carter chooses Oliver for the inaugural flight (though he'd kinda-sorta promised that to his generous helpmates, but forgot there were only two seats), it's a nice gesture, but doesn't exactly-or even remotely-have anything meaningful to say about friendship. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823421930
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/15/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD680L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Lynn Rowe Reed created the energetic and unique illustrations for several books by Robin Pulver, including Silent Letters Loud and Clear, Nouns and Verbs Have a Field Day and Punctuation Takes a Vacation, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year and Society of School Librarians International Honor Book. Lynn Rowe Reed lives in Indiana. Visit her online at lynnrowereed.com.
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