The Great Moon Hoax

( 1 )

Overview

New Telescope Sees All! Amazing Secrets to Be Revealed! So the headlines read in the New York Sun one day in the summer of 1835. For a week straight, the newspaper printed stories and pictures of the discoveries made using a new telescope in far-off Africa. And on the streets of New York City, hundreds of newsboys shouted the headlines at the top of their lungs: Heavens Filled with Buffalo! Moon Beavers! Man Bats! We Are Not Alone! Every day, newsboys Jake and Charlie sold their stacks of newspapers quickly. The ...

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Overview

New Telescope Sees All! Amazing Secrets to Be Revealed! So the headlines read in the New York Sun one day in the summer of 1835. For a week straight, the newspaper printed stories and pictures of the discoveries made using a new telescope in far-off Africa. And on the streets of New York City, hundreds of newsboys shouted the headlines at the top of their lungs: Heavens Filled with Buffalo! Moon Beavers! Man Bats! We Are Not Alone! Every day, newsboys Jake and Charlie sold their stacks of newspapers quickly. The good business paid off for them - they could even afford a room at a boarding house. As they jingled the coins in their pockets, they wondered about what they were reading. Would the man bats fly to Earth? Would a moon ship carry treasure hunters into the sky? And would their good fortune last?

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Two young homeless newsboys in New York City in 1835 can earn money only by selling a lot of papers. Jake and Charlie need some really shocking news to hawk. The Sun is reporting an amazing astronomical discovery, supposedly seen in South Africa through a new telescope. The boys are happy to use this news to sell all their papers by noon and enjoy a fine dinner. And there is more exciting news to come, describing the strange creature seen on the moon. Everyone is interested in the reports. The Sun continues to add amazing details every day, of buildings, temples, even flying "man-bats." Jake and Charlie speculate about all this as they continue to sell all their papers and enjoy being able to afford a bed for the night. Sadly for them, the series of articles ends; later the stories are revealed as a hoax. But the boys have enjoyed it all. The illustrations on the jacket/cover preview some of the scenes of the story and the mixed media style of creation. The double pages are impressionistically composed, with suggestions of cityscapes, fragments of newspapers, pictures of the alleged views of the moon, always with the stylized boys. The front end pages depict a gray stone wall with a few overlapping newspaper pages. The back end pages depict the same wall with the addition of a shockingly red creature, perhaps from the moon, hiding behind more pages, to ponder. A note fills in the details of the actual hoax of 1835. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Pamela Paul
Darkly imaginative illustrations by Josée Bisaillon…lend the story a tinge of social commentary. Using a mix of drawing, collage and digital montage to depict both the fantastical upright "moon beaver" as well as the gritty urban terrain of life back on earth, Bisaillon shows why readers might have been so ready to believe.
—The New York Times
School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—This picture book is based on an 1835 scandal created by the New York Sun. To increase sales, the newspaper printed fake articles about bizarre creatures on the moon seen through a newfangled telescope, and newsboys Jake and Charlie hawk the sensational editions on the street. The book chronicles some of the details actually published by the Sun as well as the boys' joy over making more money, their hopefulness that the stories are real, and their descent back to reality when the truth is revealed. The story is too simplistic to pare down to a lesson about the wrongs of lying, and the ramifications of a media source's scheme to make money via false claims are too complicated for young readers to process. The rather gloomy collages of quirky faces, figures, and scenes are interesting, but sophisticated. This story would be useful in an older classroom setting to jump-start a discussion of the very relevant issue of journalistic integrity, but that's a pretty limited demographic to consider.—Alyson Low, Fayetteville Public Library, AR
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761351108
  • Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/1/2011
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: 750L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.80 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Krensky did not have the kind of childhood anyone would choose to write books about. It was happy and uneventful, with only the occasional bump in the night to keep him on his toes.

He started writing at Hamilton College in upstate New York where he graduated in 1975. His first book, A Big Day for Scepters, was published in 1977, and he has now written over 100 fiction and nonfiction children's books—including novels, picture books, easy readers, and biographies. Mr. Krensky and his family live in Lexington, Massachusetts. Josée Bisaillon grew up in St. Hyacinthe, Québec, Canada. Her illustrations are a mixture of collage, drawings, and digital montage, taking us into a richly detailed and multidimensional world.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    ends abruptly without giving enough detail

    Stephen Krensky briefly touches on the story of The Great Moon Hoax and the lives of the newsies. With a unique pictorial style, the story itself seems to be lacking and ends abruptly without giving enough detail of the historical events. However, the book did bring up quite a few side components which my children and I discussed such as newsies, child labor, monopolies, unions, and minimum wage.

    Disclaimer: A complimentary copy of the book was provided by the publisher.

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