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Ben Mikaelsen’s Countdown

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.

The Client by John Grisham

The main character of my book was Mark Sway. Mark Sway is a bad little eleven year old boy with a huge burden on his hands. Mark smokes ciggaretes, uses foul language, and picks on his little brother, Ricky. Mark grew up in a trailer, with an abusive father, a mother who is hardly around, and his little brother Ricky who annoys him plenty. Mark was a very strong character who did not take anything from anyone! The trouble Mark ran into with Jerome Clifford only made him stronger. All he cared about was protecting his little brother, and his mother. Jerome Clifford was a heavy set man, who was trying to commit suicide, because of a dangerous secret he knew. Mark and his younger brother Ricky, stumbled upon Jerome one day, as he was trying to commit suicide. Jerome revealed the dangerous secret to Mark, which made Mark a major target of the mafia. Mark was pushed around and overlooked, but as soon as people found out Mark knew this dangerous secret, they all wanted a piece of him. Mark knew he was in trouble so he did t! he only thing he knew possible, which was get a lawyer. The lawyers’ name was Reggie Love, a woman. Mark despised Reggie at first, knowing that a woman was not capable of fullfilling his needs, like a man could. Then something happened where Reggie grew on him, he got more used too her, and he found himself telling her personal things, spending tons of time with her, and starting to care for her. She was like the mother figure he never had. Mark and Reggie were in the tangle of mess together. Mark realized through the whole ordeal he could not do everything by himself, he also realized how vulnerable he was by being independent. Mark and Reggie became bestest friends, right up to the point where he would have to leave into the witness protection program.

I liked the way Mark was so rowdy, and uncontrollable. He was so young, yet so smart and mature. He knew how to protect himself, and he knew the importance of his family members and friends, and how important it was too protect them. No matter what the mafia did to Mark, he made sure his family was safe first, than he took care of himself.

I could not really find anything I did not like about Mark, I did not like at the end how he had to relocate into the witness protection program.

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