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Space Race

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Thomas Derwent and his father live a normal, happy life - but it is all about to end.

For in their background lurks an extraordinary secret and, as the past catches up with them, they must face the truth.

Will they survive?

And will they survive together?

When he learns that he and his father must soon leave Earth, eleven-year-old Thomas Derwent is upset, but a terrible accident that separates the two of them makes Thomas's situation much worse.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Thomas, 11, and his father, Patrick, live a seemingly ordinary existence in the cozy northern English village of Belthorp. In reality, however, Thomas and Patrick are Tonitheen and Vateelin, alien agents from the planet Ormingat sent to Earth on a benevolent mission to record the doings of this planet's inhabitants. Their five-year stint nearly over, father and son expect to return to their planet the day after Christmas. On their way to recover their golf-ball-size space ship, stowed in Edinburgh, a dramatic traffic accident separates the pair, leaving Thomas stranded (and pretending to be mute) in a hospital. Meanwhile, Patrick--temporarily miniaturized by the shock--must fend for himself. In outline, this plot is as whimsical and imaginative as those of Waugh's earlier books; in execution, however, the story has a muffled feel, lacking the cozy warmth and immediacy that made her Mennyms adventures so vivid. Since so much of the novel takes place in the hospital, as a bedridden Thomas waits for his father to find him, melancholy introspection often takes the place of action ("He watched the Mickey Mouse clock and went listlessly back to his effort at telepathy, though with no real hope that it would work"). Even the shrunken Patrick's journey to Edinburgh--achieved partly via catching rides on the shoes of passers by--is strangely joyless. Ages 10-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Having studied how to conform to the human race, Thomas Derwent and his father, Patrick, appeared to be perfectly normal. Although Thomas told the housekeeper Mrs. Dalrymple and his best friend Mickey that they had arrived in a spaceship the size of a golf ball, neither believed him. After living in the community of Belthorp, England for five years, it was time for them to return to their home planet of Ormingat. While on their way to the spaceship they are involved in an accident. Patrick is missing, and Thomas, in shock, is taken to the hospital. Mrs. Dalrymple wants to take him home but he longs to be reunited with his father. The race is on for them to find each other and return to their planet. Waugh's quiet style allows Thomas' character to unfold at an even pace. The themes of isolation, parent-child bonding, and friendship are explored. She has a marvelous way of combining the ordinary with the fantastic to make it believable. Readers of her first series, about the Mennyms, will not be disappointed. 2000, Delacorte Press, Ages 9 to 12, $15.95. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-Thomas Derwent and his father have lived in the small English town of Belthorp for the last five years. Now 11, Thomas has a good friend and substitute mother in Stella Dalrymple, the kindly neighbor who helps care for him, and a best friend at school. Then his father announces that it is time to return home-to the planet Ormingat. En route to a spaceship buried in Glasgow, a speeding brewery tanker cuts their journey short. The boy lands in the hospital and his father can't be found. Waugh provides an interesting background for this story, with brief descriptions of the varieties of Ormingat science, the workings of the spaceship, and the aliens' intentions for their continuing study of Earth's inhabitants. However, much of the focus of this novel is on Thomas's relationship with his father and his friends, and how they illuminate basic truths about human interactions. In her books about the "Mennyms" Greenwillow, a family of sentient and sensitive rag dolls, the author created an absorbing fantasy that explores the many meanings of family, friendship, and even life itself. In the same way, Space Race is a thoughtful examination of friendship, loyalty, and love. Readers will enjoy the exciting plot and fast-moving action, and the sympathetic characters will stay with them long after the book is closed.-Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Emily-Greta Tabourin
Sylvia Waugh, author of The Mennyms, about those delightful life-size rag dolls that lead almost-human lives, once again has created a world that shifts between the ordinary and extraordinary.
The New York Times Book Review
Kirkus Reviews
Though anchored by heartfelt feelings of love and loss, this diaphanous tale is unlikely to engage readers the way Waugh's more arrestingly premised "Mennyms" series has. Ever since he and his father Patrick moved to the village of Belthorp, Thomas has been telling his best friend Mickey that he arrived in a spaceship. He's not believed, of course, but it's true. Looking ahead to the future meeting of their two civilizations, the people of Ormingat gave Thomas a human body and sent him to be an English schoolboy for five years, part of a far larger mission to find out what makes Earthlings tick. His only clear memories being Earthly ones, Thomas is understandably upset when his father suddenly announces that it's time to go—and barely have they begun their journey to Edinburgh, where the spaceship is concealed, than Patrick mysteriously disappears in a violent traffic accident. Traumatized, Thomas winds up in a hospital: unidentified, unidentifiable, and with an uncertain future. What would have made a fine short story is padded out with extraneous detail and characters, plus a lengthy, pointless side jaunt for Patrick, who survives the accident by reflexively shrinking to ant size, has a few adventures, then shoots up to normal at the first sign of real danger. There is never a glimpse of the aliens' true form, or of the home planet for which Patrick so longs-nor do Thomas's mutinous feelings last long enough to develop into an inner crisis. Aimless, patchy, uninspired work from an author who has done much better. (Fiction. 11-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781448193226
  • Publisher: RHCP
  • Publication date: 9/30/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 208
  • Age range: 9 - 11 Years
  • File size: 332 KB

Meet the Author

Sylvia Waugh lives in Gateshead. She taught English at a local school for many years but has now given up teaching to devote her time to writing. She has three grown up children and two grandsons.

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 4 of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    You just found a great book!

    This book is really good. I won't tell you any more. Read to find out.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2007

    Space Race

    I would rate this book an 8 out of 10 because all around I like it but sometimes it got a little boring because it was a bit repetitive. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a good laugh. Compared to other books I¿ve read lately this one did not have a lot of action.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2003

    Racin' into Space?

    This book is not a great book, but it's also not a book you'd wanna throw away. This book looked so cool to me at first so I HAD to get it. Then, when I started to read it, it got pretty much boring.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 4 of 3 Customer Reviews

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