Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Inspired by the author's meeting with James Irwin, an astronaut who walked on the moon in 1971, this picture book introduces places its young narrator at the center of a story about a lunar landing. A boy imagines himself sharing his grandfather's trip to the moon, the subject of his favorite bedtime story. After blasting off from Florida, the pair drives around the moon in a buggy, collects dust and rock samples, and erects an American flag. Gaffney's (Chuck Yeager) simple, serviceable prose converts scientific details into experiential descriptions, as in this account of dropping a rock: "It falls in slow motion to the ground. Dust splashes up around it and falls back like water." The description of the sky"There is no air on the moon to make the sky blue. Space and black sky come right down to the ground"carries a similar sense of wonder. Root's (Wan Hu Is in the Stars) watercolor and gouache paintings create striking lighting effects, whether for cozy bedtime scenes in the boy's room, the bright billowing pastel clouds of the take-off or the still dim surface of the moon. Root captures especially well the camaraderie between the two moon walkers, their shared excitement visible even beneath space helmets. This book makes a momentous and remote event engagingly accessible. Ages 4-up. (Aug.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2This book was written as a tribute to Apollo astronaut James Irwin. In the story, Grandpa was an astronaut who walked on the moon. During the evening bedtime story, he and his grandson imagine going there together. The text is perfect, reflecting no doubt the most frequently asked questions of those who have experienced space travel, and moonwalking in particular: Where does the capsule sit on the rocket? How long does it take to get to the moon? What does the surface of the moon look like? Root's watercolor and gouache paintings focus on the factual information and yet the art has the feeling of an imaginary experience and captures the wishful thinking of a curious child. Emerging readers can make this experience their own because the visual clues and the vocabulary are so carefully scripted. The premise of fondly recalling the public's total attention to the first manned space flights and reliving it through the intergenerational episode may not work for all audiences since the child is so easily transported to the historic eventleaving behind the uniqueness, the training, and the risk involved. Nonetheless, the appealing story and breathtaking pictures make an attractive addition that should spark many flights of fancy.Kathy East, Wood County District Public Library, OH
The narrator, a boy (or a short-haired girl), listens to his astronaut-grandfather's bedtime story about his trip to the moon and imagines himself along for the ride. After flying for days, they land on the moon, put on their space helmets, and step outside. The first order of business is to bounce around and leave tracks in the soil, and the second is to take the lunar rover out on a rock-gathering expedition. Before returning to their rocket, they plant an American flag in the ground. Back in the narrator's bedroom, the grandfather assures the boy that things on the moon are just the way they left them.
The spare, carefully polished text is a true-to-life account that points out the particularly curious details of the adventure (e.g., the sun is shining but the sky is black). The thickly painted pictures of bedroom interiors and dark lunar landscapes have a familiar, old-fashioned look without a hint of science fiction. In some, the figures exhibit a Cezanne-like compactness; in others, the narrator looks like Tin-Tin in a space suit. Most readers will appreciate the romance of the lunar landing; adults will have a renewed feeling of affection for those exciting days.