Adventure is defined in many different ways but for kids 8-12 years of age, this is definitely an out-of-this-world experience. Goodman's Ultimate Field Trip 5: Blasting Off to Space Academy delivers a feeling of excitement to the reader as she details the experiences of young people attending the U.S. Space Academy at the United States Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. It is an old adage that truth is stranger than fiction and so it is with space travel. The facts presented in this field trip are far more amazing than any science fiction account of similar adventures.

Goodman, a former participant at the U.S. Space Camp herself, launches the reader into space by chronicling the activities of young people as they progress through several stages of preparation and training for space travel. During this memorable mission, the participants learn firsthand the immensity of the tasks related to the space program. They experience the exhilaration of success and the disappointment of failure, encountering the same challenges as their professional counterparts. Of the many lessons learned, teamwork, perseverance, tenacity and patience are required to conquer space, as with so many of our earthly problems.

Photographs of the participants by Michael J. Doolittle capture the reality of their exercises. Wearing NASA space suits, training with real-life equipment and operating Mission Control instruments, the junior astronauts show the authenticity of the space camp experience. Living accommodations in space, building and launching miniature rockets and issuing liftoff directions from Mission Control are just some of the images that will leave an indelible impression on the reader.

If your child is tethered to science or needs a boost to become interested in science, mathematics or engineering, this might be just the catalyst they need. This virtual field trip leaves no doubt that the U.S. Space Camp will have an impact on those who attend and on any young reader as well.

Of course the best learning experiences for children are live, but seeing these amazing adventures through the eyes of their peers is second best. Other equally unforgettable field trips in the Ultimate Field Trip series include adventures in the Amazon rainforest, archaeology, marine biology and living in the 1800s.

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