Review: Have Space Suit – Will Travel by Robert Heinlein



Have Space Suit – Will Travel
by Robert Heinlein
Narrated by: Mark Turetsky
Series: Heinlein Juveniles #9
Genre: Science Fiction
Published by Blackstone Audio, 2014 (book originally published 1958)
Paper book & Audiobook, purchased
256 pages
8 hours, 54 minutes
Grade: B+
Narrator grade: B+
Synopsis: Kip Russell wants nothing more than to go to the moon. But after entering a contest to help realize his dream, he is thrust into a space adventure he could never have imagined–with the most unlikely of friends and enemies. A favorite among Heinlein readers.

That was my chance to be noble. We humans were their victims. We were in a position to speak up. Point out that from their position they hadn’t done anything wrong and ask mercy if they would promise to behave in the future. Well, I didn’t. I’ve heard all the usual sweetness and light that kids get pushed at them. That they should always forgive. That there’s some good in the worst of us, etc. But when I see a black widow I step on it. I don’t plead with it to be a good little spider and stop poisoning people. A black widow spider can’t help it, but that’s the point.


Some people insist that ‘mediocre’ is better than ‘best.’ They delight in clipping wings because they themselves can’t fly. They despise brains because they have none.


  • Many of Heinlein’s books have an older, wise father figure in them (Stranger in a Strange Land, for example). In this case, it is the father and he is a benevolent character from whom high school senior Kip learns all the things he needs for the rest of the book. I always feel Heinlein sees himself as that benevolent, wise father figure.
  • The entertainment value of this book is wonderful. I may have read this book when I was a young teen (but I don’t remember it) as I read lots of his juveniles as well as Andre Norton’s books which have a lot of the same adventurous feel. These authors wrote the “Harry Potter” books of my childhood!
  • I’ve had the paper book of Have Space Suit  – Will Travel for a number of years, but got the Audible book when it was on sale. I really enjoyed listening to this. The narrator was very good.
  • Kip and Peewee (12 year old Patricia Wynant Reisfeld) are such fun characters to read about. They are brave and gallant and just what and how we would want our idealized children to act!
  • I like the systematic way Kip goes about entering a contest to win a trip to the Moon.
  • The Mother Thing is also a great character embodying all that a mother should be. Parts of this book reminded me a little of A Wrinkle in Time. I think it was because of the Mother Thing. However, A Wrinkle in Time is a very different book. And deserves its place as a classic children’s book. It was also one of my favorites as a child.


  • The plot is pretty simple and predictable, but it’s a book that a young teen could read and enjoy and I like that.
  • Heinlein is preachy in his books, but again I don’t mind too much. And I think I formed some of my ideals from his books.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I’m using this book as my TBR read for the month of December (hosted by Wendy @ The Misadventures of Super Librarian). It doesn’t fit the category of Christmas book, but I have had the paper book for years so I’m using it anyway. And I could stretch things and say a young reader would enjoy reading this book at Christmas…LOL!
  • We get a lot of Heinlein’s philosophy of life in this book as in others he writes. I think the quotes really illustrate that.
  • Many of his books are written during the Cold War and have a real feeling that the U.S. has enemies and the U.S. could be defeated by them if the government isn’t vigilant. Whether his books are written about a futuristic Earth or about a futuristic space world many of the books indicate the government might not be ready, but individual citizens are prepared and will take back their country.
  • Another reason I enjoyed this book is that one of my daughters won a national contest with her team of three other girls when she was in third grade. They had to build a spacesuit and explain on a video how it would work if they were on Mars. They won a trip to Space Camp. For a long time my daughter wanted to be an astronaut. And she did become a scientist. I thought of her when I read about Kip and Peewee.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?