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Lucky 13: Survival in Space Hardcover – October 1, 2008


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2–4—The author of Godspeed, John Glenn (Boyds Mills, 2006) and other accounts of space-program highlights describes the disastrous Apollo 13 mission for younger readers. With a combination of brief overview narrative, more detailed sidebar explanations, and full- or nearly full-spread paintings done in a realistic style, Hilliard covers the basic facts in a systematic way, but he writes in a wooden, matter-of-fact tone that robs the episode of much of its terror and suspense. For example, "Jim's wife, Marilyn, stayed in constant contact with Houston and hoped that, against all odds, her husband would return to her and their children." Similarly, the figures in the paintings are usually in static poses, often seen from the back or with faces in shadow. The important task of making children aware of our achievements in space exploration needs all the help it can get, but is better served by more vivid retellings, such as Ian Graham's You Wouldn't Want to Be on Apollo 13! (Watts, 2003) or Mark Beyer's Crisis in Space: Apollo 13 (Children's Press, 2002).—John Peters, New York Public Library
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From Booklist

The Apollo 13 spacecraft was moonward bound when an explosion damaged the ship, forcing the astronauts to abandon the mission’s original goals and focus on a new one: returning safely to Earth. Hilliard tells the story through two texts, one that would work better for reading aloud in the classroom and (appearing in sidebars in smaller print) another that fills in more details. The main text is competently written, but the story’s inherent drama is more evident in the detailed accounts and the artwork. A typical double-page spread includes a large-scale acrylic painting with the main text superimposed, accompanied by an illustrated, vertical sidebar. Though some of the large illustrations have the static look of painted or digitally altered photos, they are often dramatic and show up well from a distance. Children intrigued by the space program will enjoy this large-format book from the author/illustrator of Neil, Buzz, and Mike Go to the Moon (2005) and Godspeed, John Glenn (2006). Grades 2-4. --Carolyn Phelan
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 11 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 6
  • Lexile Measure: 1260L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Boyds Mills Press; Library Binding edition (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590785576
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590785577
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 9.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,349,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By G. Smith on December 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
While visiting the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum Annex near Dulles Airport with my young grandson, we spotted an author's table near the gift shop. Mr. Hilliard was signing autographs and selling four of his books for chldren. After checking out the titles, my grandson selected Lucky 13. Mr. Hilliard signed it for him by name and even took the name to make a small sketch of a heat shield beside his inscription. It was all very nice, but the best part was actually when we sat down to read the book. As a former kindergarten teacher, I've read many run-of-the-mill books with pretty illustrations. Likewise, I've read many great stories with inferior illustrations. Lucky 13 is an appealing blend of interestingly told story AND beautiful illustrations. Very well done! As an aside, my grandson can be a little sensitive to "scary" events, so I was concerned to see how he would react to the very real peril of the astronauts' emergency situation. My opinion is that Mr. Hilliard did an excellent job of relaying the drama of the situation in an age-appropriate way.
I highly recommend this title and plan to purchase other titles in the future!
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Format: Hardcover
"Houston, we have a problem." Somewhere in the Apollo 13 Command Module there was an explosion and "precious oxygen was pouring out the side of the Service Module." Jim Lovell, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert were in trouble. Big trouble. Instead of landing on the moon they were going to have to figure out how to make it back to earth safely. The only way they could make it was luck, their skill and that of Mission Control in Houston. Their dream of landing on the moon was gone in an instant.

As many young boys in the 1930s dreamed of outer space. Jim Lovell read about it too and dreamed that he too might be one of the lucky ones who would be a space traveler. Now his main focus was saving his crew and getting back to Earth. The ship was badly damaged and the Lunar Module, a lightweight, delicate craft, was now their "lifeboat." Fred was becoming ill and the crucial calculations that could mean the difference between life and death were being worked out by Jim . . . with a pencil and paper. Would they make it back to Earth? Is the number thirteen really that unlucky?

The art work in this book is very realistic and stunning. The sidebars in this book give detailed, scientific explanation of the flight. The print in these is quite small and a lot of information is packed in each one. If you have a space flight fanatic (or are one yourself) I might like to recommend "Moonshot: the Flight of Apollo 11" and if you don't already have it, the Apollo 13 movie starring Tom Hanks. Get ready to count down for some fun!
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Format: Hardcover
This is a beautifully illustrated picture book account of the failed yet successful Apollo 13 mission to the Moon. Richard Hilliard did a fantastic job with his detailed illustrations and made this book perfect for kids of many ages. The narrative is written in simple way to complement the pictures; the side margin gives additional information that will interest older kids or can be omitted for a younger reader.
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By davidmoreno on September 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my son, who is 7. He liked the pictures and the print was reasonably large enough for him to read. He was done with the book in minutes.
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Frequently Bought Together

Lucky 13: Survival in Space + You Wouldn't Want to Be on Apollo 13!: A Mission You'd Rather Not Go On (You Wouldn't Want to...)
Price for both: $24.03

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