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Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 (Richard Jackson Books (Atheneum Hardcover)) Hardcover – April 7, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 2–5—Large in trim size as well as topic, this stirring account retraces Apollo 11's historic mission in brief but precise detail, and also brilliantly captures the mighty scope and drama of the achievement. Rendered in delicate lines and subtly modulated watercolors, the eye-filling illustrations allow viewers to follow the three astronauts as they lumber aboard their spacecraft for the blastoff and ensuing weeklong journey ("…there's no fresh air outside the window;/after a week this small home will not smell so good./This is not why anyone/wants to be an astronaut"). They split up so that two can make their famous sortie, and then reunite for the return to "the good and lonely Earth,/glowing in the sky." Floca enhances his brief, poetic main text with an opening spread that illustrates each component of Apollo 11, and a lucid closing summary of the entire Apollo program that, among other enlightening facts, includes a comment from Neil Armstrong about what he said versus what he meant to say when he stepped onto the lunar surface. Consider this commemoration of the first Moon landing's 40th anniversary as a spectacular alternative for younger readers to Catherine Thimmesh's Team Moon (Houghton, 2006).—John Peters, New York Public Library
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*Starred Review* Forty years after NASA’s Apollo 11 mission first landed astronauts on the moon, this striking nonfiction picture book takes young readers along for the ride. The moon shines down on Earth, where three men don spacesuits, climb into Columbia, and wait for liftoff. On a nearby beach, people gather to watch the rocket blast the astronauts into space. The astronauts fly to the moon, circle it, land on it, walk on its surface, and see “the good and lonely Earth, glowing in the sky.” After flying back to the orbiter, they return to Earth and splash down, “home at last.” An appended note discusses the mission in greater detail. Written with quiet dignity and a minimum of fuss, the main text is beautifully illustrated with line-and-wash artwork that provides human interest, technological details, and some visually stunning scenes. The book’s large format offers plenty of scope for double-page illustrations, and Floca makes the most of it, using the sequential nature of picture books to set up the more dramatic scenes and give them human context. The moving image of Earth seen from the moon, for instance, is preceded by a picture of a lone astronaut looking up. A handsome, intelligent book with a jacket that’s well-nigh irresistible. Grades K-3. --Carolyn Phelan
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I also highly recommend two very educational DVDs covering the Apollo moon missions from the early 60s thru 1973. First, is Ron Howard's theatrical production of "Apollo 13", and second, Tom Hank's HBO mini series (12 episodes), "From the Earth to the Moon". Both are truly outstanding docudramas faithfully based on the events of those particular NASA years leading up landing six different two man crews on the Moon, Apollo 11 being the first. These are all of the Apollo astronauts own true stories, some quite tragic but most very successful, with very realistic reenactments of all the missions.
The book is exceptionally well written. Accessible and easy to understand for children but at the same time surprisingly detailed. The drawings are simply beautiful. I must admit I often get moved to tears just reading it, it really puts you there.
My only wish is that the end of the story would be a little more detailed as well, after the landing it seems to be over in a hurry and not much is said about the way back and landing.
But this is a 5-star book without hesitation, one that children and parents alike will love and enjoy.
Like Locomotive, this book takes the reader on a journey, and explains a lot along the way. Unlike Locomotive, it feels a bit more solitary and uncertain (nail biting, even -- and why shouldn't it be?). With so much build up, there's quite an emotional touchdown on the lunar surface, but unlike Locomotive, that's not the end of the story.
Brush up on your space history, and cue up the Apollo videos -- this book is sure to elicit a ton of curious questions from the intended audience.
The inner leaf of the dust jacket starts with a quote from President Kennedy's "we choose to go to the moon" speech, and sets the tone quite well. It's too bad that that isn't in the book proper; it's a great lead-in and I'll be sad when the jacket is lost.
As if inspired by JFK, the text has a great cadence. The words beg to be read aloud and roll of the tongue when you do.
The artwork is very well executed. It's perhaps the weakest point of the book...it's merely very, very good.
The graphic design is spectacular. The book starts with an expanse of white, with a small paragraph on one page and a 1/3 page drawing on the facing page. It's really striking. As it goes along, similar stark whites and dark blacks appear from page to page.
The plot, well, no surprises. But it's quite a story, isn't it?