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Reviewed by Hilary Hawkes for Readers' Favorite
May’s Moon by S.Y. Palmer is a middle grade/age nine to twelve story about a lucky young teenager, Michael May, who has been selected from thousands to be in the final ten in a contest to send the first child to the moon. The story begins with Michael (from England) undertaking a series of exciting and gruelling test exercises with the other young contestants at the Florida Space Center – challenges and tasks under water that simulate conditions and dangers in space, swimming and running events, physical tests, tolerating g-forces etc. Michael’s life-long love for space enables him to overcome his usual lack of confidence as he approaches the final selection day. Not all his team mates are as honest or motivated and suspicions are aroused over the actions of one candidate, Jia Li. Will Michael seize the opportunity of a life time, or give up his chance to be the celebrated first child in space in favor of staying with his family?
May’s Moon is an enjoyable story that will inspire and capture the imaginations of children interested in space discovery. What an exciting story idea: a contest that will select a child to travel to the moon. Michael is a likable and believable character, and readers will be rooting for him from the start. I love that he overcomes his fears and that this is his chance to emerge from being a timid, ignored boy and become the competent and wonderful young man that he really is. There are plenty of challenges and mystery as the plot unfolds at a good pace.
For the young space enthusiast there are plenty of brilliant facts about astronaut training, planets, and space travel, making this much more than a fictitious story. Readers will be inspired to find out more, and S.Y. Palmer’s book is a great way to teach and inform through story. The writing style and dialogue are just right for the target readership. Michael’s and the other children’s sense of thrills, nerves and excitement are conveyed very well as they progress through the contest, with the sub-plot of Jia Li and her sabotaging tactics adding a touch of suspense too. Perfect for promoting interest in the mystery and wonder of what lies beyond our world, and for young space enthusiasts everywhere.