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Children's LiteratureThis fascinating book recounts the details from the fateful 1970 Apollo 13 mission. Its mission, to land on the Fra Mauro hills of the moon, seemed fraught with misfortune almost from the beginning due to an outbreak of measles and a problem with one of the rocket engines during launch. The author actually puts you right in the middle of all this action as he has you pretend you are one of the astronauts on Apollo 13. The author does a marvelous job of allowing you to enter this world by presenting highly sophisticated scientific information in a readable manner and in concise, colorful chapters. "Launch Day," for example, provides details about the sequence of events that take the astronauts from their wake-up call to their seats inside the spacecraft. In "Houston, We've Had a Problem" the author sequences the specifics of the disaster that struck the spacecraft in 6 easy-to-follow steps. The accompanying cartoon-like illustrations-full of expressive characters, speech bubbles, and informative labels-help bring the concepts to life. Additionally, the delightful "Handy Hints" in each chapter offer advice to budding astronauts, such as sneeze before you put your space helmet on and try not to fall over on the moon (you wouldn't be able to rise). A glossary and index appear at the end. 2003, Franklin Watts/Scholastic, Ages 8 to 11.
— Michele Coulombe