Footprints on the Moon

( 1 )

Overview

Best-selling author Mark Haddon recalls his boyhood fascination with the moon and his pure wonder at witnessing the first lunar landing.

Years ago, a little boy gazed at the moon, dizzy with the thought that he was looking at a world 200,000 miles away. As he read atlases and library books and kept clippings on astronauts orbiting the moon, he hoped and hoped that they would fi nd a way to land there. And one extraordinary day they did, captured on his fl ickery TV, like giants ...

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Overview

Best-selling author Mark Haddon recalls his boyhood fascination with the moon and his pure wonder at witnessing the first lunar landing.

Years ago, a little boy gazed at the moon, dizzy with the thought that he was looking at a world 200,000 miles away. As he read atlases and library books and kept clippings on astronauts orbiting the moon, he hoped and hoped that they would fi nd a way to land there. And one extraordinary day they did, captured on his fl ickery TV, like giants bouncing in slow motion. When the boy fell asleep, he dreamed that he walked with them too. In this lyrical, transporting tale, Mark Haddon — the boy in the story — conveys the thrill of one moment in history through a child’s eyes, aided by Christian Birmingham’s evocative illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Originally published in the U.K. in 1996, this spare, emotive story recreates Haddon's (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) experience of watching the Apollo 11 landing. Birmingham's (The Snow Queen) soft-focus, light-infused pictures reveal Haddon's preoccupation with outer space as a boy (he compiles a scrapbook of photos and newspaper clippings, imagines exploring the moon and poses in the snow beside a red, white and blue shirt hanging from a pole-a pretend flag). After staying up to watch the space landing on TV, the boy "went to bed at dawn.... and in his dreams he walked with them." Together, words and art offer a tribute that is at once personal and universal. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)

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Children's Literature - Paula K. Zeller
A young boy of the 1960s, smitten with the solar system and especially the moon, hopes that one day a way is found "to land and walk across the tiny world where he had dreamed of walking." When that day comes, he watches the iconic images on television and then walks with the astronauts in his dreams. Did the boy grow up to become an astronaut or perhaps a scientist? The anticlimatic closing pages reveal that he is in fact an author who now "sometimes" gazes out his bedroom window at the stark moon and visualizes the astronauts' footprints still there, never changing. This reminiscence might appeal more to the author's contemporaries than to their children. Yet, the prose is consistently lyrical and captivating. For example, Mars is a "tiny space-tomato," and the moon "a small and bald and ordinary globe of rock." The realistic illustrations, with muted colors and softened edges, complement the text and evoke the boy's sense of wonder. The moon's mystical landscape is shown to be dreamily dotted with courageous men—and a boy—in "pumped-up suits and fishbowl helmets." The boy's passionate earth-bound exploration of the moon might inspire modern children to engage in similar forays into science and books. Reviewer: Paula K. Zeller
School Library Journal

K-Gr 3

First released in Britain in 1996, Haddon's work has been reissued and re-titled to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Moon landing. The author recalls his childhood fascination with space and the thrill he had watching two astronauts "bouncing slowly through the dust in the Sea of Tranquility like giants in slow motion." The book ends with the author, now an adult, thinking back on the footprints that those brave men left behind. Young readers will identify with the boy's interest in the solar system, particularly the Moon. Birmingham's nostalgia-tinged illustrations have a dreamlike quality and provide readers a glimpse into both the boy's and astronauts' separate worlds until, in a wonderful spread, both worlds join as a third tiny astronaut is seen bouncing on the Moon with Armstrong and Aldrin. The pairing of text and art creates a wonderful read-aloud with which to celebrate a milestone in the history of mankind.-Maura Bresnahan, High Plain Elementary School, Andover, MA

Kirkus Reviews
This memory-piece will resonate more with adults of a certain age than with children, but it is a pleasant enough interlude regardless. A grown narrator describes a little boy who years ago "had the solar system on his wall." Heightened, emotive language describes his particular fascination with the moon, "a small and bald and ordinary / globe of rock / that looped-the-loop / its way through outer space." This builds to the night of the moon landing, when the little boy sneaks downstairs to watch and "[walk] with them" on television. Birmingham supplies equally emotional illustrations, the slightly-out-of-focus look reinforcing the sense of misty memory. Three wordless double-page spreads take narrator and readers to the lunar surface, the third one placing a boy-sized astronaut right there with Armstrong and Aldrin. In a season full of such exemplary offerings as Brian Floca's Moonshot (2009), this import, first published in Britain in 1996, ranks as an additional purchase, though it will strike a chord with other moon-watchers whose childhoods included that momentous small step. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763644406
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 3/24/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.40 (w) x 10.50 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Haddon is best known as the author of THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME, a NEW YORK TIMES bestseller And winner of a LOS ANGELES TIMES First Fiction Prize. The author of Many books for children and adults, he lives in Oxford, England.

Christian Birmingham has illustrated many books for children, including Hans Christian Andersen’s THE SNOW QUEEN and several titles by Michael Morpurgo. He lives in England.

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