By: John P. Stanley
Publisher: Tanglewood Books
Publication Date: September 2013
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: October 2013
This is a book that truly takes you back to the time before computers, cell phones, and virtual annoyances were discovered; a time when people looked up at the moon and wanted to go there, in person.
Orlando Home for Boys was the location where Mickey Price grew up. His best friends there were Taco and Big Linus, and they had a great deal of fun avoiding Sister Rinaldi (who ran the house). Mickey is all grown up in this book, sitting outside around a campfire telling his beloved son and daughter a tale they won’t soon forget.
He begins with Operation Breakout back in 1977, which is something he and his buddies did when they were at the Home, using a tire swing and extreme bravery to get out their window and head to Dairy Queen for an ice cream sundae. That day, that event, changed Mickey’s life forever.
He tells the tale of how he was offered a trip to a space camp. Men with golden sunglasses showed up at the Home - Major Austen and Major Jackson - and told Mickey that he would be going with them for a few weeks to the Kennedy Space Center to enjoy space camp.
Mickey is beyond excited and when he’s almost there he makes two more friends; a female go-kart racer extraordinaire by the name of Trace; and a science-fair whiz-kid by the name of Jonah. There’s something strange about this journey, however; Trace and Jonah tell their stories about how the same men with sunglasses appeared out of nowhere and said they were coming to space camp because a spot had opened. And they begin to wonder why NASA bigwigs would want children like them.
Well...turns out that there was a very secret time period between the well-known Apollo program and the space shuttle in the 1980’s, and these three kids - along with a slew of others - were needed to help solve a major problem that had been hidden during the America/Russian race to be the biggest and best of all time.
This story sparks the imagination of not only Mickey’s children, but also the imagination of the reader who remembers how exciting it was when there were real astronauts and real moon landings that are now historical footnotes for the next generation. The author has done a wonderful job of ditching the world of virtual reality and resurrecting a time of pure adventure, excitement and glory.
Quill says: A great, humorous tale that has some serious heart. Bravo!