Gr 1-3-In this follow-up to Harry's Helicopter (Morrow, 1990), young Richie Rodriguez builds a rocket from cardboard and castoffs on his apartment building's rooftop, blasts into orbit, joins an expedition to the Moon, and gets back just in time for breakfast. Anderson makes it clear that this is all a dream, so it's easy to suspend disbelief as Richie, in T-shirt and jeans, admires Earth through a cut-out window, and later, announcing, ``I'm outta here,'' clambers down to the Moon's surface to write his name in the dust. The boy's engaging grin invites readers to share his excitement; Ancona's expert trick photography creates a magically plausible realism, deftly mixing NASA shots with pictures of Richie's obviously homemade spacecraft and hand-colored space scenes that capture the glow of earthlight. An inventive, well-executed picture book.-John Peters, New York Public Library
Naturalistic color photographs and unassuming storytelling lend a cinematic quality to this vigorous fantasy about a boy who has a space adventure. Retreating to his apartment rooftop to play with his cardboard rocket ship, Richie Rodriguez pretends to blast off--only to find out that he really has. After an initial surge, Richie floats through space, contending with the challenges of weightlessness (he can't eat--or even reach--his lunch) and loneliness. Richie perks up after he encounters a friendly spacewalking astronaut, who arranges for Richie to land on the moon and then gives his ship a final push home. Ancona's pictures convincingly combine real-life touches (Richie's braces and dirty nails) with special effects (Richie "floats" upside down inside the cabin and "tumbles" across the moon) and striking NASA photographs. A fun and enjoyable companion to the team's Harry's Helicopter (1990).