One Small Step


Thirteen-year-old Scott MacLeod has been an underage pilot since his dad, a Korean War-era ace and flight instructor for Vietnam War jet pilots, secretly let him take the stick of his Cessna at age 12. Now, dad's letting him take occasional control of a 'Tweet,' the two-engine jet trainer he uses to ready 'fresh meat' for duty in beefier aircraft. Though Scott, a quick study, handles the airborne aircraft well, he's never had to do the most difficult thing—land a jet aircraft. That changes suddenly when a fluke occurrence forces him to land a damaged plane himself, possibly ending his father's career.

The incident arouses the interests of NASA officials who, in a top-secret program, have been sending chimps into space as a rehearsal for manned Apollo missions. The agency thinks that the diminutive Scott would be a perfect candidate to accompany two trained chimpanzees on a scaled-down test mission to orbit the moon in preparation for the upcoming Apollo 11 moon landing. In order to save his dad's career—and to satisfy his own thirst for adventure—Scott convinces his reluctant father to allow him to serve as the first tween-aged astronaut. Accompanied by two endearing primates, he will do everything the adult astronauts are scheduled to do—except actually land on the moon. Unless, that is, he decides to go the distance and take the mission into his own hands.

ages 8 and up


Kirkus Reviews

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