Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Catch a falling star by Meg McKinlay

I like the way tension drives this story. I think this list might be a way to explain some of the plot threads and the tension I felt.

  • It is 1979 and Skylab is falling back to Earth (this is based on true events).
  • No one knows where Skylab will land - there is huge media coverage and international speculation. 
  • A space station falling to earth could cause enormous damage and injury. Every day people check the sky and NASA send updates as the days count down. 
  • Frankie's Dad is gone, he has died, but mum won't talk about it and Frankie didn't get to say goodbye. Mum even puts his photo away. 
  • Frankie is happy to help out at home but she also needs her mum to stop spending such long hours at work.
  • Dad loved astronomy and Frankie shared his passion. Who can she talk to now?
  • Newt, her younger brother, is a gifted boy whose brain is filled with science facts but he is also secretive - what is really going on in his bedroom? Does he know more about Skylab than the adult scientists?
  • Kat is Frankie's friend in Grade 6 but sometimes the road of true friendship is a rocky one.
  • Frankie did not mean to get A+ on her Storm Boy assignment and she certainly didn't want to make Kat hate her. If only she could tell Kat how hard it is at home with mum working such long hours, Newt hidden away and her desperate need for answers about her dad.
  • Mrs Easton has set another almost impossible assignment - Fantastic Futures - which must include two thoughtful and relevant reasons for your choice. Once Frankie would have said she planned to be an astronomer but now that choice seems too hard. Every Friday afternoon is torture hoping Mrs Easton won't ask Frankie to present her futures speech.

Catch a falling star is an honest story about grief and growing up. I really enjoyed the link in this book with the real life event. Skylab did crash near Esperance in Western Australia. The town council did send a fine of $400 for littering. A US newspaper did offer $10,000 to the first person to arrive at their studio in San Francisco with a piece from Skylab. A seventeen year old boy from Esperance won this prize. Take a look at exhibition in the museum at Esperance.

Anna Fienberg said: "A witty and tender story mapping the marvels of science and the human heart. A gripping read."

Read Meg McKinlay's thoughts about Catch a falling Star here.  I read an advanced reader copy of this book late in 2018. It will be published in March, 2019. This is a long way off but I predict Catch a Falling Star will reach the CBCA notables list for 2020 - I do hope so. Megan Daley agrees with me - here is her review.  I have read other books by Meg McKinlay which I really enjoyed - Once upon a small Rhinoceros and her Duck stories - Duck for a day and Definitely no Ducks!

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