Space Case

Space Case

Space Case
by Stuart Gibbs

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Activities and Resources:

Jigsaw Puzzle of Earth – Change Number and Shapes of Pieces:

Jigsaw Puzzle of View of Earth from the Moon – Change Number and Shapes of Pieces:

NASA for Kids – lots of information and terrific graphics about the solar system and beyond; nine puzzles with degrees of difficulty; your weight in space; four ion engine puzzlers:

NASA Home Page:

Historical look at Space Food (2002):

Space Shuttle Food:

NASA Kids Club – includes puzzles, games, views of Earth from space:

Kids Astronomy: games, interactive applications:

Space for Kids – includes space quiz and space word scramble; games:

Smithsonian – includes virtual flight across America:

Apollo 11 – walking on the moon:

Jet Propulsion Laboratory – phases of the moon:

So you want to be an astronaut?:

What is gravity?:

Learning Center for Young Astronomers:

International Space Station – spot it:

Be an Expert Flight Controller Game:

Protect Your Satellites from Bad Space Weather Game:

July 20, 1969, Moon Landing:

Astronomy Puzzles and Games:

Principles of Space Operations:

Discussion Questions:

Would you want to live on the Moon? Explain.

If you were a Moonie what would you miss most about Earth?

Did you like how the author inserted a section from the Official Residents’ Guide to Moon Base Alpha at the beginning of each chapter? Why or why not?

What did you think about Dash’s statement “that on the moon a day without school is worse than a day with it”?

How would you fill your free time in the moon colony?

Do you think the moon inhabitants’ weekly evaluation by a psychiatrist was helpful?

Would drinking reclaimed water be a problem for you?

Dr. Howard traveled to MBA to suggest improvements. If that was your task what changes would you make?

Look at the layout for Moon Base Alpha on the inside book cover. If you had been on the original design team, would you have built the compound this way? Explain.

Before reading this book, did you know that there is no sound or natural changes on the moon because there is no atmosphere? How would you react to that?

This story takes place in 2040. Do you think humans will be inhabiting the moon then? Why or why not?

Why do you think the author included the date and the time of day at the beginning of each chapter?

Who was the author referring to and what did he mean when he used the phrase “transitive property of jerkiness”?

What tools, processes, and equipment described in this story set in 2040, are available to scientists today?

Can you make a connection to the celebration the moon residents experienced when the Raptor landed at MBA? Explain.

Dash thought the food he would miss the most on the moon would be ice cream. Instead, he craved picante sauce. For you what food would be the hardest to give up and why?

Dash’s friends in Hawaii were being driven to the beach and chaperoned by the family car. As a parent how would you feel about this?

What do you think of the regulation that MBA residents were to exercise two hours a day? If you lived there would it be easy for you to adhere to that rule?

Did you notice how much time passed during the story? Were you surprised?

What was your reaction when Dash was telling Kira that NASA whitewashed the residents’ records, so that they seemed to be model citizens?

Dash attended school through his ComLink. Would you like to to be educated this way? Explain.

Has reading Space Case, influenced you to want to become an astronaut or a scientist who might live and work on the moon or the International Space Station?

What do you think of Dash’s decision to go out on the moon’s surface to retrieve Dr. Holtz’s phone? Do you think Kira influenced his decision? Explain.

Do you think humans will be in contact with alien life by 2040? Explain.

Would you be willing to be the contact person with an alien?

Was Grisan justified in killing Dr. Holtz? Why or why not.

Book Talk Teasers:

Read the front flap.

Read p. 5 – through the 2nd paragraph on p. 7.

Read Alikes:

Also by Stuart Gibbs:
Belly up: murder at FunJungle. Twelve-year-old Teddy investigates when a popular Texas zoo’s star attraction–Henry the hippopotamus–is murdered. (NoveList Plus)

Big game. “Someone is trying to hunt FunJungle’s Asian greater one-horned rhinoceros, and twelve-year-old Teddy Fitzroy is on the case”. (NoveList Plus)

Double cross. When Greg and the Musketeers return to Paris and find the city under siege, they leap into action to prevent King Louis from being overthrown and history from being changed forever. (NoveList Plus)

Evil Spy School. After getting expelled from spy school for accidentally shooting a live mortar into the principal’s office, thirteen-year-old Ben finds himself recruited by evil crime organization SPYDER. (NoveList Plus)

The last Musketeer. In Paris with his parents to sell family heirlooms, fourteen-year-old Greg Rich suddenly finds himself four hundred years in the past, and is aided by boys who will one day be known as “The Three Musketeers.”. (NoveList Plus)

Poached. “I would never have been accused of stealing the koala if Vance Jessup hadn’t made me drop a human arm in the shark tank.” That’s Teddy Fitzroy’s explanation for the mess he’s in. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and now he’s the prime suspect in the theft of a koala from FunJungle, the zoo amusement park where his parents work. (NoveList Plus)

Spy Camp. As almost thirteen-year-old Ben, a student at the CIA’s academy for future intelligence agents, prepares to go to spy summer camp, he receives a death threat from the evil organization SPYDER. (NoveList Plus)

Spy School. Twelve-year-old Ben Ripley leaves his public middle school to attend the CIA’s highly secretive Espionage Academy, which everyone is told is an elite science school. (NoveList Plus)

Traitor’s chase. “When the Musketeers pursue the dangerous Michel Dinicoeur to Spain, they’re ambushed at every turn, causing them to suspect that there may be a traitor within their own ranks”. (NoveList Plus)

Humorous Science Fiction; Fast-Paced; Attention-Grabbing; Illustrated:
Reeve, Philip. Cakes in space. “When ten-year-old Astra and her family move to a new planet, she must save the spaceship and its crew from man-eating cakes, aliens, and more”. (NoveList Plus)

Humorous Science Fiction; Fast-Paced; Plot-Driven; Illustrated:
Trine Greg. Willy Maykit in space. “When Willy Maykit gets stranded on Planet Ed during a class trip to outer space, he’s in for an adventure. But will he be able to outwit the monsters inhabiting Ed and find his way back home?” (NoveList Plus)

Nonfiction; Space Flight:
Waxman, Laura Hamilton. Space travel. Looks at human travel beyond the Earth, and discusses spacecraft, equipment, daily life during a flight, training, and possible future developments. (NoveList Plus)

West, Tracey. Space travel. Inspired by the stories in the Poptropica game, introduces young readers to the history and current advancement of space travel. (NoveList Plus)

Science; Astronomy and Space; Space Exploration and Travel:
Thimmesh, Catherine. Team moon: how 400,000 people landed Apollo 11 on the moon. Culled from direct quotes from the people behind the scenes, NASA transcripts, national archives and NASA photos, the whole story of Apollo 11 and the first moon landing emerges. (NoveList Plus)

Baker, David. Living on the moon: exploring space. Introduces the history of Moon exploration, including the Apollo space missions, current research into returning to the Moon, and the possibilities of using the Moon’s resources for growing plants and mining oxygen. (NoveList Plus)

Chaikin, Andrew. Mission control, this is Apollo: the story of the first voyages to the moon. July 20, 1969, marked one of the climactic moments in our history, the day Apollo 11 landed on the moon. But it is only one piece of a magnificent story. Mission Control, This Is Apollo, by the acclaimed Andrew Chaikin recounts space history from the Mercury missions through Apollo 17 and beyond. It is illustrated with stunning full-color paintings by astronaut Alan Bean, who walked on the moon with Pete Conrad on Apollo 12 and has devoted his post-NASA life to creating art. Handsome, informative, and dramatic, this is no textbook, it is the tale of humankind’s greatest adventure in the last frontier: space. (NoveList Plus)

Science Fiction; Action-Packed; Suspenseful:
Searles, Rachel. The lost planet. Waking up on a distant planet, Chase Garrety is horrified to learn that he has no memory of his life and finds himself under the protection of a mysterious benefactor who requires him to complete an important mission before time runs out. (NoveList Plus)

Science Fiction; Fast-Paced; Plot-Driven:
Hautman, Pete. The Flinkwater factor: a novel in five thrilling episodes. Thirteen-year-old Ginger investigates a series of weird events taking place in her hometown of Flinkwater, Iowa, beginning with people falling into comas while using their computers. (NoveList Plus)

Wasserman, Robin.Game of flames. Dash, Carly, Gabriel, and Piper visit a planet made up of molten lava and run entirely by robots where they must find the second element of the Source that will save the Earth. (NoveList Plus)

Science Fiction; Fast-Paced; Suspenseful; Amusing:
Kloepfer,John. Into the darkness. Kevin and his science camp buddies, The Extraordinary Terrestrials, defeated the alien Mim and sent him back to prison–but now a group of his friends have shown up in spaceships, bent on revenge, and it is up the Extraordinary Terrestrials to find a way to defeat the invaders. (NoveList Plus)

Kloepfer, John. Galaxy’s most wanted. “When thirteen-year-old Kevin Brewer and his camp buddies summon an alien to earth, they know they’ll win a blue ribbon in the science competition–but they don’t expect to find themselves in the middle of an interstellar war”. (NoveList Plus)

Science Fiction; Plot-Driven; Fast-Paced; Suspenseful:
Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Revealed. After returning the missing children from history to their original time periods, thirteen-year-old Jonah must save time itself when aviator Charles Lindbergh mysteriously appears and kidnaps Jonah’s sister. (NoveList Plus)

Science Fiction; Plot-Driven; Suspenseful:
Holyhoke Polly. Neptune challenge. “Nere and her friends, all genetically engineered to survive in the ocean, go on a rescue mission”. (NoveList Plus)

Science Fiction; Suspenseful:
Ferraris, Zoe. Hunt for the Pyxis. After her parents are kidnapped, Emma and her best friend Herbie set out on an adventure that takes them through a galaxy populated by pirates, monkeys, the tyrant Queen of Virgo, and other creatures, human and otherwise, as they try to rescue her parents and protect the mysterious Pyxis. (NoveList Plus)

Science Fiction; Suspenseful; Attention-Getting:
Holyoke Polly. Neptune project. “A group of kids who have been genetically altered to survive in the ocean must embark on a dangerous underwater journey to find refuge–and maybe even a way to save the world”. (NoveList Plus)


Book Reviews:

Space Case.
By Stuart Gibbs.
2014. 352p. Simon & Schuster, $16.99 (9781442494862). Gr. 5–8.
First published September 1, 2014 (Booklist).

Here’s a whodunit set on the moon. The sudden, mysterious death of Moon Base Alpha’s physician threatens the entire underfunded lunar-colonization program. Worse, though the base commander and her NASA superiors insist it was an accident, an overheard conversation leads 12-year-old Dashiell to suspect that it was nothing of the sort. Shrugging off hostility from the powers that be and even an anonymous threat, he enlists the aid of a pair of tech-savvy peers and—encouraged by an oddly elusive new arrival—goes digging. Gibbs stocks the cast with multiple suspects and red herrings, suggestive (if sometimes contrived) clues, hints of secret agendas, and unexpected encounters. Ultimately, the investigation culminates in a suspenseful murder attempt out on the lunar surface, followed by a game-changing revelation. Though relatively standard issue as murder mysteries go, this is notable for its unusual setting and features a narrator who displays a realistic mix of wonder at his location and annoyance at having to deal with the Spartan life on another planet. The exposed killer’s rationale actually has merit, too. John Peters


Horn Book:
Gibbs, Stuart Space Case
337 pp. Simon (Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing) 2014. ISBN 978-1-4424-9486-2 Ebook ISBN 978-1-4424-9488-6

(3) 4-6 Life is pretty weird living in the moon’s first colony. But it gets weirder fast when a scientist turns up dead. Twelve-year-old Dash is determined to solve the mystery, whether or not anyone else believes it was murder. Details about the logistics of everyday life functions, such as eating and exercise, make the lunar setting fully realized, and the mystery is tightly paced. (Spring 2015 Guide)


School Library Journal:
Space Case
Gr 4–6—It’s 2041, and 12-year-old Dash Gibson lives with his family in Moon Base Alpha, the first lunar outpost. Life is mostly dull (watching TV, going to the gym to keep fit, and playing video games—not much variety) until Ronald Holtz, beloved base physician, dies under suspicious circumstances. Despite warnings from the base’s autocratic commander, Dash continues to investigate the incident as a possible murder. The story is fun, if somewhat thin; a space-age Agatha Christie mystery grafted onto a Scooby Doo plot. There are multiple suspects, each with a seemingly plausible motive—the scientist who accuses Dr. Holtz of stealing his brilliant idea; the shoddy psychiatrist whom Holtz tried to keep off of the mission; even Lars Sjoberg, the hapless and arrogant billionaire space tourist. Some of the characters are colored with a broad brush, such as Kira the tween-age super hacker; the vile, “pure white” Sjoberg family; and Chang Hi-Tech, the tattooed and mohawked tech guru. But Gibbs’s passion for science is obvious, and his portrayal of what life might be like for a middle schooler in space is credible and insightful. The difficulty of learning to run in reduced gravity, the dreary food, ubiquitous technologies, and recycled water (urine is purified and returned to the reservoir) all are treated evenhandedly and with reference to relevant science. The prospect and related concerns of contact with a distant race of super-intelligent beings provide an intriguing “what if” counterpoint. Recommended as a breezy read, especially for the budding space scientist.—Bob Hassett, Luther Jackson Middle School, Falls Church, VA


The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books:
Gibbs, Stuart. Space Case. Simon & Schuster, 2014. hb 9781442494862, ebook 9781442494886, audio download 9781442376403, audio cd 9781442376397

Apart from the celebrity that comes with being among the first people to occupy Moon Base Alpha, Dash Gibson is finding the novelty of space exploration to wear thin. There’s just not much to do in the less than luxurious accommodations, the food is wretched, and nobody can go outside unless it’s critically work related, so even family game time is starting to look good. Then, though, affable Dr. Holtz dies, stepping through the airlock in the middle of the night in an improperly donned space suit. Pressure is on the base commander to write the whole issue off as an accident, or even suicide—anything to keep the costly moon base project in Washington’s political good grace—but Dr. Holtz was a rational man, an avid proponent of the program, who was giddily excited to announce a scientific discovery, an announcement that will now never be heard. Dash knows there’s more to this story than, well, lunacy, and he, gamer geek Roddy, and newcomer Kara launch their own covert investigation. The lunar setting puts a fresh spin on the locked-door mystery genre, and Gibbs plants plenty of credible suspects among the eccentric cast. The climactic chase scene, which plays out in one-sixth gravity with a gigantic robotic arm for a nemesis, is prepackaged for the big screen. Fans of the Spy School series (BCCB 4/12) will welcome this debut entry in Gibbs’s latest run. Review code: R*– Recommended. Gr. 5-9. April Spisak (The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, January 2015 (Vol. 68, No. 5))