Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins: NY, 2008.
Frank Cottrell Boyce has launched another crazy story idea. The creator of a Chinese theme park offers four children the opportunity to be the first kids in space, though the mission is secret.
A fifth kid manages to hitch a ride, masquerading as a dad of another child. Liam Digby is a 12 year old who looks like an adult, tall and slightly bearded. That is how he pulls off the dadliness, but he also has to set up a plausible scenario to convince his parents and his friend's that they will be at a camp for weeks. He also has some learning to do in order to continue pulling off the dad facade. As a gifted and talented student, he is quite good at hands-on learning.
The original intention is to shoot the kids into space alone. Liam convinces them to send a dad as a chaperon. He wants to go, but a contest will determine the adult to be sent. The mission is supposed to be a piece of cake, just some buttons to push when told. The students and dads do go through some training first, but as you can imagine all does not go according to plan. Liam really needs to be an adult, keeping the team focused, to overcome the problems that arise.
Like the eccentric Framed, it is a comical, quirky story with inspirational moments. Liam bumbles through school a bit, but is an accomplished leader type on his own time. It gets him into difficult situations. He's used to his dad following him in his taxi and bailing him out of trouble. He's gone too far this time.
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