Ben Mikaelsen’s Countdown

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An Essay on Ben Mikaelsen’s Countdown

Countdown is a book written by Ben Mikaelsen and was first published in 1996. It has a total of 248 pages and published by the Hyperion Books for Children company. This book is mainly about sending the first teenager in space. And it is also about finding how a young coward becomes a village warrior.

This story takes place in Big Timber, Montana and in Kenya, Africa. The setting starts off in winter and fourteen-year-old Elliott Schroeder is busy working around his family farm. On the news, NASA announces the first Junior Astronaut program and youth all around the country will get a chance to become the first teen in space.

Meanwhile, in Kenya, Africa, a young fourteen year old Masai, Vincent Ole Tome returns from tending to his family farm also. Vincent was no ordinary boy either, his father had sent him to the “wood school” which is similar to regular school in America. With the education he had received, many boys disliked him and named him a coward for not working as hard in the family farms.

Getting back to Elliott, many things occurred since the announcement of the Junior Astronaut program. Elliott is chosen to become to first teenager in space and begins his nine month training along with his alternate, Mandy Jane Harris. This was it, the only chance that Elliott Andrew Schroeder was going to become a national hero and the only thing in his way was Mandy. Because of that he developed a disliking towards her which almost costed them their privilege to go to space. Then Elliott realized that his disliking had to reasonable justification and they became the best of friends for the last four months of training. Then the day came, when Elliott was really going to become the first teen in space and his only duty was to speak to anyone on earth throughout NASA’s space mission.

While all of this was happening in America, in Kenya, Africa, Vincent is now being tested by the elders of his village along with all other young Masai boys to find who is the bravest of them to become a warrior. Leboo, a not so close friend of Vincent, tries to tear Vincent’s spirits down by naming him a coward.

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