BOON ON THE MOON
Written by John Huddles
Notable Kids Publishing 3/4/2020
210 Pages Age 8—12
. . . . . . [DEBUT]
Genre: Middle Grade Novel, Science Fiction
Themes: Moon, White Worms, Imagination
When ten-year-old Byron “Boon” Barnett boards a rocket-ship for a move to the Moon with his family (and his irritating robot, José Ignacio), he’s expecting the time of his life in the lunar colony of Cosmopolis. What he’s not expecting is a stellar disaster that’ll demolish Cosmopolis before lunch.
Boon insists he knows how to survive it, but people tend not to believe him about stuff. His parent have been lecturing him on the dividing line between using his imagination for fun and using it as an excuse for bad behavior. Suddenly it’s the dividing line between life and death.(from inside book cover)
“NOW PICTURE THIS: in an outer stretch of outer space, in the ‘cosmic deep’ as the space-poets call it, in a quiet nook of the universe, a star explodes. This is a supernova: an astral bang which in an instant is shining a billion times brighter than our own sun.”
Why I like Boon on the Moon
Byron “Boon” Barnett has one close friend—his robot, José Ignacio, a seven-feet tall titanium computer capable of bantering with him. Only Boon sees his robot this way. Everyone else sees a twelve-inch toy and hears Boon speaking both sides of these conversations. If he was not an extremely imaginative ten-year-old, people might consider Boon a little off. Boon’s biggest preoccupation is with the Moon. He would love to live there. After another dangerous situation, in which Boon again needs rescued, he finds himself in front of a judge awaiting punishment.
In the meantime, Byron’s father, an engineer at Amalgamated MegaPhysics, is offered a promotion—engineer at the Lunar League. The mayor of Cosmopolis has requested the company’s best engineer and Mr. Barnett is the man for the job. But Mrs. Barnett is happy living on “terra firma” and nixes her family living on the Moon. To her dismay, Boon’s arrest changes things and soon the family is taking the two-hour trip to Cosmopolis, a richly populated colony with all the comforts of home and then some. Boon is thrilled.
Most things tend to occur in sets of three (for reasons I cannot explain, except maybe we expect it and somehow help make this occur.) When the Barnetts arrive on the Moon, the school kids are heading out on a field trip and Boon goes along. But once they arrive at their destination, Boon goes off in the opposite direction in search of Rattlesnake Rill. This is Boon’s first of three situations that day. Back at Cosmopolis, a dire emergency is about to take place.
Out in deep space a white worm is expelling all manner of meteors and space debris—aimed at Cosmopolis. The only emergency evacuation ship quickly fills with residents, but with Boon missing, his parents and brother Taji refuse to leave. The Mayor and his daughter also stay. Their prospect for survival gets worse with each hour that passes. They need Boon to rescue them . . . if only they knew where he was.
Boon on the Moon is an exciting middle grade science fiction story. Boon is quite a character, as is José Ignacio. The story takes place several years in the future and most aspects of life are different than they are now. Kids will love the gadgets, like Mr. Barnett’s grass-fed sedan, kids playing laser lacrosse, police hovercraft cruisers, money is gone in favor of credits, and the Barnett home, where an atomic generator gives them electricity.
Boon has an ever-working imagination, which tends to get him into trouble. Boon’s attitude will make kids laugh, as will his ideas, his adventures, and his relationship with José Ignacio. Before dropping down Devil’s Drop, José feels “compelled to state for the record how deeply dangerous this is.”
Byron replies, “I laugh at danger! I spit in danger’s face!”
Most often, the banter between boy and his robot is humorous. Byron tells José, “I’m an explorer! Some day [sic] they’re gonna name things after me!”
José dryly responds, “Yes, personality disorders.” Keep in mind that this is all Boon bantering with himself, as his robot cannot speak. His language sounds, at times, years above his age, most likely a byproduct of two intelligent parents.
There is much space information interspersed throughout the story, which should be new to many readers. Author John Huddles does not write down to his readers, so some kids may need to keep a dictionary handy. Mr. Huddles has written a fun and witty story kids will love to read. Boon on the Moon can be a fast read, or read as a bedtime story one chapter at a time (two-weeks).
I am not sure if Boon’s story will continue in a second book, but I would love to read a sequel or any middle grade novel Mr. Huddles writes. His sentences seem effortless and easily flow as read. He includes interesting science facts kids will like and teachers can include in the classroom. Other objects and ideas are from his imagination, which must be a rich landscape. I secretly suspect Boon on the Moon is Mr. Huddles childhood memoir.
For those who like science fiction, space travel, or just a great story told with unbound imagination, Boon on the Moon will not disappoint.
I like José Ignacio. Everyone needs an imaginary friend, or in Byron’s case, an embellished toy robot. Byron carries on such humorous dialogue between himself and his robot. In this scene, a Moon resident and “Moon diamond” procurer shows Byron his briefcase of diamonds. From across the room, José “piped up:”
“I’ve never understood why humans go gaga over diamonds in the first place. They’re just carbon atoms bonded together in a tetrahedral lattice. Big deal.”
Byron, sounding older than his ten years, “shot back,”
“How rude! Mr. von Stroganoff is in the diamond business. You can’t insult people’s jobs!”
Then Byron speaks to Mr. von Stroganoff,
“Please excuse José Ignacio, he’s not the politest robot ever built . . . Basically he’s a glorified circuit-board with a loudspeaker and a voltage ray. But I’m sorta stuck with him.”
Available at Amazon
BOON ON THE MOON. Copyright © 2020 by John Huddles. Published by Notable Kids Publishing, Denver, CO.
Copyright © 2020 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
[705 word count-review only]
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