Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 (with audio recording)

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 (with audio recording)

4.2 4
by Brian Floca

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Brilliantly illustrated, Moonshot tells the story of our first visit to the moon in 1969—an unforgettable story of home, seen whole, from far away.

Simply told, grandly shown, here is the flight of Apollo 11. Here for a new generation of readers and explorers are the steady astronauts, clicking themselves into gloves and helmets, strapping themselves into…  See more details below


Brilliantly illustrated, Moonshot tells the story of our first visit to the moon in 1969—an unforgettable story of home, seen whole, from far away.

Simply told, grandly shown, here is the flight of Apollo 11. Here for a new generation of readers and explorers are the steady astronauts, clicking themselves into gloves and helmets, strapping themselves into sideways seats. Here are their great machines in all their detail and monumentality, the ROAR of rockets, and the silence of the Moon. Here is a story of adventure and discovery -- a story of leaving and returning during the summer of 1969, and a story of home, seen whole, from far away.

Editorial Reviews

Julie Just
In watercolors, ink and acrylics, Floca lays out colorfully and succinctly how the Apollo 11 mission unfolded. Crew and machinery are equally brought to life.
—The New York Times
Kristi Jemtegaard
…while the illustrations speak eloquently of the wonders of science, the free verse text positively sings. Within a single sentence, facts (the rocket is 30 stories high and weighs 6 million pounds) and artistry ("a tower full of fuel and fire") keep company. In this beautiful amalgam of science and poetry, words, set free from gravity, merge into images that reverberate and soar.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

Floca's rendition of Apollo 11's journey to the moon is as poetic as it is historically resonant. The first page offers a quiet meditation: "High above/ there is the Moon,/ cold and quiet,/ no air, no life,/ but glowing in the sky," followed by the astronauts preparing for the voyage and then a dramatic liftoff ("The rocket is released!"). Once in space, the lunar module, Eagle-"a stranger ship, more bug than bird,/ a black and gold and folded spider"-locks onto the Columbia. The subdued illustrations hold an undercurrent of emotion (as a family hears the report that the Eagle has landed safely, the father wipes his eyes with awe and relief). A stirring depiction of a momentous event. Ages 4-7. (Apr.)

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Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
In a text that is easily understood and illustrations that clearly show the preparations and support personnel at Mission Control, the flight of Apollo 11 is underway. The three astronauts have trained hard and are ready for the greatest adventure of their lives. The rocket roars into the sky, and, at speeds that are we are unable to fathom, it reaches one hundred miles high in twelve minutes. The Columbia and Eagle are launched, pilot Michael Collins docks the two craft, and together, they head toward the Moon. The inside of the spaceship looks like a cluttered mess, and things just float in chaos. Eating is a challenge, as is using the toilet. Finally, the astronauts reach their destination, and as they orbit the Moon, Collins stays in Columbia while Armstrong and Aldrin head for the Moon. Can they do it? Will they land as planned? The world watched and seemed to hold its collective breath. Armstrong must take command and manually land the Eagle. Then, it is time to suit up and actually put their feet on the surface of the Moon. All too soon, it is time to return to their colleague circling above and head back to Earth. The inside cover contains a more detailed explanation of the actual mission and what conditions were really like, while also noting that Armstrong really meant to say or did say "That's one small step for a man, on giant leap for mankind." Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal

Gr 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

Kirkus Reviews
A dizzying, masterful command of visual pacing combines with an acute sense of verbal rhythms to provide a glorious account of the Apollo 11 mission, one that stands as the must-buy in this crowded lunar season. Each page turn presents a surprise: A spread with six horizontal panels showing rocket, bystanders and astronauts during countdown yields to a close-up of the thrusters firing at liftoff and then to a perfectly sublime long shot that positions a tiny Saturn V rocket pulling away from the launch pad above a serenely massive Earth, its curve clearly visible in the horizon of the blue Atlantic-"ROAR." Floca's language, in one of his longer texts, is equally gorgeous: "And when the Earth / has rolled beneath / and rolled behind / and let the astronauts go, / the Saturn's last stage opens wide..." Humor lightly applied provides the necessary grounding touch to this larger-than-human endeavor without ever taking away its sense of moment. The front endpapers give detail-loving readers diagrams and a pictorial chronology; the back endpapers contain a brief history of NASA's lunar program. Breathtaking, thrilling and perfect. (Informational picture book. 7-12)

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Product Details

Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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22 MB
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Age Range:
4 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

Brian Floca is the author and illustrator of Locomotive, winner of the 2013 Caldecott Medal; Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11, a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book and a New York Times Best Illustrated Book; Lightship, also a Sibert Honor Book; and Racecar Alphabet, an ALA Notable Children’s Book. He has illustrated Avi’s Poppy Stories, Kate Messner’s Marty McGuire novels, and Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan’s Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring, a Sibert Honor Book and winner of the Orbis Pictus Award. You can visit him online at

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