- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Hyperion Book CH; Reprint edition (October 15, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0786812087
- ISBN-13: 978-0786812080
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 7.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,091,156 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Countdown Paperback – October 15, 1997
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From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8. If you can buy the premise that NASA would randomly choose a teenager to serve as a payload specialist aboard the space shuttle, then this ambitious book will make an enjoyable near-future-fiction read. Elliot Schroeder, 14, of Crazy Peak, MT, is selected to fly on the shuttle, while Vincent Tome, a 14-year-old Maasai youth living in Kenya, considers whether his future lies as a warrior or as a person educated in the white man's ways. The boys' stories merge when Elliot, whose primary assignment is to talk from orbit via short-wave radio to ham-radio operators around the world, contacts Vincent. Their vast cultural differences spark genuine conflict, distrust, and dislike. When a shuttle emergency forces a landing at Dakar, Senegal, NASA flies Vincent to meet Elliot, allowing the boys to reach across space and culture to make the world a bit more peaceful. Both boys are credibly shown to be inquisitive idealists. And they are dreamers, yearning for lives that exceed their fathers' expectations. Elliot feels he must outperform the alternate Teen-in-Space applicant, a girl named Mandy, while Vincent (more convincingly) faces conflicts with Leboo, a boastful bully. Careful research allows integration of details that lend authenticity to the tale, and the plot moves quickly enough to engage the intended audience while challenging readers to consider their own cultural biases.?Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Jr. High School, Iowa City, IA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Gr. 6^-9. In earlier novels, Mikaelsen explored settings as diverse as the Montana mountains and the Florida Keys, providing challenges for his characters and such rich descriptions readers could easily imagine themselves in the story. In Countdown, widely disparate settings increase the dramatic contrast between the lives of two 14-year-old boys: Vincent Ole Tome, who lives in a remote village in Kenya, and Elliot Schroeder, at home in the high-tech environment of the Johnson Space Center and aboard a space shuttle. Readers soon discover that the boys are very much alike. Each boy is in conflict with his father and must choose between accepting an expected way of life and following his dream. Mr. Schroeder resents Elliot's wanting to leave the family ranch and become a pilot. When Elliot is selected to become NASA's first junior astronaut, the chasm between father and son widens. Vincent wants to attend school, but his father distrusts white culture and threatens to disown the boy if he does not become a traditional Masai warrior. The two strong-willed boys meet via the shortwave radio of Elliot's spacecraft, and every night the world listens to their arguments about their religious and cultural beliefs, which ultimately grow to reflect modern-day world issues. It's only when the boys meet in person that they can see their way clear to begin a relationship respectful of their differences. Mikaelsen weaves a provocative message through his novel and blends two fast-paced stories into a single, powerful whole. Suggest this to language-arts and reading teachers, and be prepared for high demand when they booktalk it. Chris Sherman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
Elliot and Vincent are the main characters. The book switches off between their lives. In the middle of the book, they started talking to each other. By the end, they meet in person. I thought it was cool that they met, because it becomes one story, not two separate ones.
Elliot, a boy who lives in Montana, wishes to be a pilot/astronaut when he grows up. His father wants him to take over the family farm. He doesn't tell his father that he wants to be a pilot/astronaut until he hears that NASA is having a Jr. Astronaut contest; Elliot gets so excited by this news. Elliot has many challenges to overcome to achieve his goal.
Vincent is a young Maasai boy who lives in Kenya, Africa. He wants to go to the wood school, but his father really wants him to become a warrior, which Vincent does not wish to be. He thinks killing animals for no reason is bad. For example, he has to kill a lion to show courage. But Vincent thinks that it is not right. Vincent is scared to tell his father this because he thinks his father will get very mad at him.
When Elliot talks to Vincent for the first time they argue about everything. They can't agree on anything. All they talk about is their cultures which are totally different, when they start talking about themselves and their problems, they start to see that they are kind of the same and start to become friends. "We are friends?" Vincent asked. "Yes, were friends," Elliot answered. With those to simple words, on that morning in Senegal, two very different boys reached out and touched hands. Here is one of their arguments from the book. "Pappa says that Engai gave all the cattle in the world to the Maasai. So if you have cattle, I think you have stolen them from the Maasai over."
The characters in Countdown have their own personality. I can see how the author put his life in the book also, because he has Elliot living in Montana where the author lives too. Countdown is a very creative book with different twists in it.
Even though Countdown is not a true story, it could be. Many of the things that happened in the book could happen now. Even though we can't imagine some of the things in the book, it's possible that they could happen.
There are many exciting obstacles and problems that Vincent and Elliot go through. There also some sad issues that Elliot and Vincent go through. But you just have to read Countdown to find out. I enjoyed Countdown and hopefully, you will see that Countdown is a great and exciting book as I did.
I liked this book because it taught that you may live in two different worlds but people can be the same in different ways. Elliot first found out that he was the first teen in space. But little did Elliot know that it would change his life forever. Vincent a young Maasai herder, That gets involved with white man. When Elliot went in to space that's when Elliot talked to Vincent for the first time ever. When Vincent talked to Elliot for the first time, they started fine. The minute Elliot started to make fun Vincent's god Engai, Then Vincent Started to make fun of Elliot's god. After several days of fighting on the radio, Vincent and Elliot learned their dads were not that different to each other. That's when Vincent's dad grew ill and needed a doctor in the Maasai land, Vincent needed Sembeke's help to cure his father. At the same time, the space shuttle Endeavor started to have problems on board. Therefore, the space shuttle and its crew had to make an emergency landing in Africa. When the authority heard, they flew Vincent to were the space shuttle would be landing. When Elliot herd he wanted to stay in space but he no choice, To meet Vincent. When the space shuttle landed, Vincent and Elliot meet each other in person. They both realized that they weren't so different after all even know they had different beliefs.
The reason people should read this book is it teaches you that you don't have to be brother or sisters to be alike. I recommend this book to anyone who is into social studies and likes different cultures. In addition, for people who just don't want to read, this would be a great book to just pass time. And for someone who doesn't like to read like me I would read it over and over.
Most recent customer reviews
People from different cultures fight about many things. They argue about their religious beliefs, their customs, and their style of dress.Read more