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Last Updated on May 11, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 191

The story opens in Centerville, a small town in the American Midwest, in the very near future. Clifford Russell, nicknamed Kip, is about to graduate from high school and is worried about not having enough money to go to college. His burning ambition is to go to the moon, but the commercial trips that are available are too expensive. When a detergent manufacturer offers a trip to the moon as first prize in an advertising contest, Kip enters with fanatical zeal, only to lose first prize on a technicality.

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As a consolation prize, however, he is awarded a used space suit, which he painstakingly restores to prime working condition. The suit's built-in communications system enables him to make contact with Peewee Reisfeld, an eleven-year-old girl genius and the daughter of a prominent scientist.

Together they are kidnapped and abducted to the moon by despicable wormfaced aliens. Eventually, they come face-to-face with the Mother Thing, a benign furry alien creature. Without intruding on the flow of the action, Heinlein weaves into the text scientific details about space travel, the topography of the Moon and the planet Pluto, and basic principles of astronomy.

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