A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy birthday Tomi Ungerer (Crictor), Ed Young (Seven Blind Mice), and Stephanie Calmenson (The Principalâ€™s New Clothes).
- Itâ€™s the birth date of poet William Blake (1757â€“1827). Read A Visit to William Blakeâ€™s Inn by Nancy Willard and illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen.
- Itâ€™s Red Planet Day (referring to Mars), commemorating the launch of Mariner 4 on this day in 1964. During its voyage, the spacecraft eventually came within just over six thousand miles of Mars. Read Cars on Mars: Roving the Red Planet by Alexandra Siy.
Today for National Aviation Month, letâ€™s look at a perfect book for four- to eight-year-olds that explains the Apollo 11 mission. In 1969 families and friends gathered around small television sets in households across America to watch Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin attempt to land on the moon. In Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11,Brian Floca uses a large, oversized picture book to bring this incident of history to life. In breathtaking drawings Floca shows the preparation of the astronauts, the panels at mission control, the countdown to blastoff, and the rocket moving through space. Readers view weightless astronauts, their descent, and their historic moonwalk. Floca fills his informative text with just the type of information that children loveâ€”how to use Velcro strips to hold weightless objects down and how â€śafter a week this small home will not smell so good. This is not why anyone wants to be an astronaut.â€ť
Floca also brings the human drama of this event down to a childâ€™s eye view. As a family observe these events on television, the parents and children wait, watch, worry, and finally cheer as these men successfully complete their mission. In the final spread, when the trio returns â€śBack to family, back to friends, to warmth, to light,â€ť readers see these children, running with their father and dog with the moon in the sky. By this wonderful sequence, Floca subtly makes the point that the heroes that day were not only those who walked on the moonâ€”but the people who sent them there and kept vigil while history was being made.
Moonshot is a stellar example of the information picture book, with endnotes that discuss Armstrongâ€™s famous statement â€śThatâ€™s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.â€ť If like the children in this book you watched the Apollo moon landing on TV forty-one years ago, Moonshot will bring back those memories. But it also allows children today to understand, intellectually and emotionally, what happened when these Americans became the first to walk on the moon.
Hereâ€™s a page from Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11:
Originally posted November 28, 2010. Updated for .