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Have Space Suit, Will Travel Paperback – February 8, 2005
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From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up-Robert Heinlein's 1958 story comes to life and is still timely almost half a century after it was published.. Teenager Kip Russell, infatuated with the idea of traveling to the Moon, enters a contest to win such an opportunity. However, his dream becomes a nightmareâ"and a space soap operaâ"when he comes upon a race of space creatures who have kidnapped a little girl from Earth's Moon Station. Rescuing Pee Wee lands Kip with a traveling companion who is very smart but much in need of protection. Fortunately, or so the kids believe at first, another alien being, whom they call the "Mother Thing," is available as both advisor and space guide. Their travels take them to Pluto, where they escape the clutches of Bronx-gangster humans, and then out to galaxies beyond our own. Eventually, Kip and Pee Wee stand trial in the stead of all humanity, a race charged with its rampant disregard for peace and environmental justice. Bruce Coville's young audiobook company treats this tale handily, with each character well acted by an age-appropriate reader. Pee Wee's childish voice sometimes requires adjustment to the volume level, but she and Kip carry the major portion of the tale between them, with interesting and appropriate musical effects added during chapter breaks and to the voice of the Mother Thing. Heinlein's writing stands the test of time, and contemporary youth will be inspired by the visions of space travel their own grandparents might have had at their age.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Full Cast Audio continues its tradition of family-friendly audio with this title from science fiction great Robert A. Heinlein, in which a boy enters a contest with hopes of winning a trip to the moon. Instead, he wins a genuine used space suit that turns out to be his ticket to interstellar adventure. Narrator Will McAuliffe is supported by a full cast. In this audio program, some dialogue attribution ("he said," "she said") has been deleted since it's unnecessary in full-cast narration. This makes for a thoroughly enjoyable listening experience. Heinlein's classic YA novel and Full Cast Audio are a perfect match. S.D. © AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition. --AudioFile --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Thirty-five years later, Kip, Peewee and the Mother Thing have lost none of their charm. What I found most interesting about this book, however, was how very much things have changed since this it was first published: the story begins with Kip's attempting to win first prize in a soap slogan contest (he sends in 5,000+ entries) the grand prize for which is a trip to the moon. He doesn't win the trip but he does win Oscar-the-Traveling-Spacesuit, which turns out to be the best prize after all. Back to the contest: Kip can send in the actual contest form included with each bar of soap or he can send in a "reasonable facsimile." He entertains the idea of photographing the form 5,000 times before deciding that's impractical, so he settles instead for collecting the forms from the people who have bought the soap. I kept thinking, so why doesn't he just use the photocopier when it occured to me there weren't any photocopiers when this book was written. There weren't any intergrated circuits either, never mind microprocessors, which would have been necessary to achieve colonization of the moon in the first place. I also found it interesting that although when Kip graduates from high school he is reasonably well-educated in sciences and math (thanks to self-teaching -- and a diatribe from Heinlein on what he considers to be the sorry state of 1950's high school education) because he doesn't get a scholarship, he is faced with having to work while attending the local (read mediocre) state college. This book predates the arrival of college loans and grants as well.
I did like the fact that the other main character in this book is a girl -- it was good of Heinlein to provide his readers such an intelligent and resourceful role model.
If you like Heinlein and haven't read it, you should. If you've never read his books, I'm not sure this would be the place to start, but it's worth reading for its place in SF history. Contrast it with Rocket Ship Galileo, which is where I'd recommend starting for younger readers.
Apparently, I still am a child at heart after all of these years.
I read this about once a decade, and have consistently enjoyed doing so for four decades, as the main story is very well written and has plenty of intriguing ideas.