Space Case: A Moon Base Alpha Novel
New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2014
Baby Elijah will not be born in Texas, but his parents were and his crazy Aunt Robin currently lives here. That was my rationale for buying a book that was recommended especially for Texas children. Every year the Texas Library Association seeks suggestions from librarians, teachers, parents, students, and other interested persons. From these suggestions, they choose 20 books. These books make up the Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List. Space Case is on the 2016-17 list. An exciting aspect of this book award is that it is chosen by Texas school children in grades 3-6. You can read more about how these books are chosen on the Texas Library Association’s website: http://www.txla.org/TBA-about. We will have to wait until 2017 to see if this one is the winner.
When I bought this book for Elijah, I had not read it. His Uncle Jim and I grew up in the “Space Age” so we are always interested in books that take place in space. I was intrigued by the description of this book. It is a mystery case that takes place on the moon! I snapped it up for his library.
I decided I couldn’t blog about a book that I hadn’t read, so this weekend I checked out copy from the library and read it. It is a winner! The hero is a 12-year old named Dashiell. What a great name for a detective. I wondered if he was named after that great detective novelist, Dashiell Hammett (think The Maltese Falcon). I am curious to see if this is true as I read in the acknowledgements that the author’s son is also named Dashiell. Someday I may have to email him to inquire, if either the hero and/or the son is named for Hammett.
I have to say that the book had me at Chapter 1: Evil Plumbing! Isn’t all plumbing evil? Dashiell is an intelligent, clever sleuth. He’s also a typical 12-year-old stuck on a moon base for three years. He slightly disgruntled and wants you to know that living on Moon Base Alpha is not all it’s cracked up to be even before someone is murdered. You will have to read it for yourself to find out how he solves this crime. While this book was written with middle school boys in mind, I liked it and I think middle school girls might like it too!
Stuart trained to be a biologist. According to his website he was for a brief time the world’s foremost authority of capybaras, the world’s largest rodent. In an aside he states that it was only because no one else was studying them at the time. After reading his book, I am glad that he decided to take up writing as a career. He didn’t start out writing for middle school boys. He had a fairly successful career as a screenwriter. At some point an agent asked him if he would like to write books that would appeal to middle school boys. He wrote one and it was a success and thus he turned his hand to writing for children.
Here are some websites to read more about Stuart.
Here’s Stuart Gibb’s Interview for the Texas Bluebonnet Award in March 2016: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=stuart+gibbs+interview