FICTION

Charlie Numbers and the Man in the Moon

MEZRICH, Tonya & . 208p. S. & S. Nov. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781481448475.
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Gr 4–7—It seemed a legitimate proposal to Charlie: help NASA recover stolen moon rocks. What geek wouldn't want to help NASA? Even the adults were convinced by Anastasia Federov, a former student of Charlie's absent-minded professor father, to allow Charlie and his team of friends, known as the Whiz Kids, to travel for a supposed paper airplane aerodynamics competition in Washington, DC. The rocket company sponsoring the competition is suspected of stealing the moon rocks, and Anastasia wants Charlie and his team to scope them out. But as Charlie and the Whiz Kids get up to speed on paper airplanes, Anastasia and her scary associate, Mr. Porter, start leaning on Charlie to break into the owner's private office and the company lab to look for the stolen items. Now Charlie really is flying by the seat of his pants, using his affinity for numbers to rapidly calculate speed, trajectory, and lift to figure out a way to save himself, his team, their reputation, and the moon rocks from Anastasia and her nefarious plans. There may be just a touch too much science exposition in this follow-up to Bringing Down the Mouse, but it is always interesting and the action never stops for long.
VERDICT Another rollicking adventure with Charlie and his friends that will delight followers and fans of heist novels like James Ponti's Framed and Varian Johnson's The Great Greene Heist.

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