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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Though the main character is full of admirable qualities, he lies to his mother, aided by his father and the government.
Violence & Scariness
An fatal airplane accident, another with injury.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
References to having sex, multiple references to Playboy magazine, a discussion of women wearing miniskirts so that men can see their underwear, mention of condoms.
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A fair bit of mild swearing: "g-ddamn," "nuts," "dick," "assholes," one use of "s--t."
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Products & Purchases
Car, lawn mower, soda brands mentioned.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teens and adults smoke and young teens drink beer.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that, though the publisher lists this book for ages 8 and up, and the story certainly seems meant for that age, there are numerous sexual references, and more swearing than you'd expect in a book aimed at middle elementary-aged kids. Also, a boy is encouraged and aided in lying to his mother by his father and by government agents, including the president.
Is It Any Good?
OK, granted, there's a huge suspension of disbelief to get over with this book. NASA secretly sending a boy and two chimps to land on the moon before Apollo 11 has to be one of the most absurd premises ever. The author compounds this with references to possible UFOs, a mystical encounter in the last part of the story, and an Author's Note that claims much of the Apollo program is "still shrouded in secrecy" and that no one really knows when the chimp program was discontinued. Even fans of Tom Swift may have to take a deep breath before swallowing all of that.
And yet ... take the leap, and you'll find an immensely enjoyable, exciting, engrossing story, the stuff of hours of childhood fantasy. Scott and the chimps are appealing characters, and the details are as grounded in scientific and historical reality as the premise is not. Scott is a boy's boy in the '50s series-book mold: stalwart, vastly competent and levelheaded, openhearted, and calmly willing to defy adult authority to do things his way, outwitting them at every turn. This is nearly perfect summer reading -- ridiculous escapism at its purest.
Did we miss something on diversity?
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Our Editors Recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate