Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Have Space Suit, Will Travel

Have Space Suit, Will Travel

Robert A. Heinlein
Fiction
For ages 12 and up
Random House, 2005   ISBN: 978-1416505495

Kip Russell has a dream. He wants to go to the moon, and since his parents don’t have the means to pay for such a luxury, Kip has to find a way to get there on his own. He could try to get there by going to the Air Academy or by becoming an engineer, but in either case, he will be competing with thousands of other likely young people. Then Kip sees that a soap company is sponsoring a contest, and the person who comes up with the best slogan for the soap will win a trip to the moon.

Kip, his family members, and his friends all pitch in to help Kip win the contest, but despite his more that five thousand entries, Kip does not win the grand prize. All is not lost though, because Kip does win a spacesuit. Lovingly Kip restores the old suit, and he grows very fond of it, even going so far as to give it a name, Oscar. Then it becomes clear that if Kip wants to go to college, which he does, he is going to have to sell Oscar so that he can pay for his tuition. Sadly, Kip takes Oscar outside for one last walk in his back yard, which is when his life takes a decidedly strange turn. To his amazement, a spaceship lands right in front of him, and then another one arrives on the scene. A strange looking alien comes out of the second ship, and it hits Kip so hard that the high school senior passes out.

When he comes to, Kip is on the alien spacecraft, which is on its way to a hidden base on the moon. His captors are an aggressive form of aliens that Kip calls Wormfaces. Kip is not alone though. With him is Peewee, a little human girl who was also kidnapped, and a being whom Peewee calls the Mother Thing.

Kip soon realizes that the Wormfaces are bad news, and he, Peewee and Mother Thing set about trying to escape. They do manage to get away from their captors for a while, but are then recaptured and taken to Pluto. Kip’s situation gets a lot worse for a while, and it looks like he has run out of time, which is when the Mother Thing takes a great risk to stop the Wormfaces before it is too late.

Though this book was first published in 1958, when high tech devices were primitive and when space exploration was in its infancy, the story is still accessible to readers today. Readers will enjoy seeing how Kip and his new friends fight for their freedom, and how their relationships develop and change as the story unfolds.

This book is a must for readers who have a fondness for science fiction titles.

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