The Moon Over Star

( 2 )

Overview

In July 1969, the world witnessed an awe-inspiring historical achievement when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the moon. For the young protagonist of this lyrical and hopeful picture book, that landing is something that inspires her to make one giant step toward all of the possibilities that life has to offer.

Caldecott Honor–winning painter Jerry Pinkney and the poetic Dianna Hutts Aston create a moving tribute to the historic Apollo 11 ...

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Overview

In July 1969, the world witnessed an awe-inspiring historical achievement when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the moon. For the young protagonist of this lyrical and hopeful picture book, that landing is something that inspires her to make one giant step toward all of the possibilities that life has to offer.

Caldecott Honor–winning painter Jerry Pinkney and the poetic Dianna Hutts Aston create a moving tribute to the historic Apollo 11 Mission, just in time to commemorate its upcoming fortieth anniversary.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The 1969 moon landing is the locus for this inspired collaboration. Aston (An Egg Is Quiet) subtly inserts facts about the Apollo 11 mission into a broader, poetic story about the excitement it generates in an eight-year-old's community. Mae, the narrator, begins the day in church with her grandfather, where everyone prays for the astronauts. Later, as she and her cousins build a play spaceship, she thinks more about her grandfather, a hardworking farmer who considers the space program a waste of money. By the end of the evening, the whole family has seen Neil Armstrong on the moon, and Mae's quietly confided dream of going to the moon someday has reminded Gramps of the wonder in his own childhood (afterward, "A sigh in Gramps's voice/ Made my heart squeeze"). In some of his finest watercolors to date, Pinkney (The All-I'll-Ever-Want Christmas Doll) supplies both his characteristically affectionate, realistic portrayals of African-American families and lyrical views of the moon, giving visual form to what Aston evokes: awe. Ages 6-8. (Oct.)

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Booklist
[A] satisfying tribute to this milestone in human history and its power to inspire others.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Aston takes us back to the summer of 1969, to share the excitement and wonder of eight-year-old Mae as she reports on the anticipated landing of the astronauts on the moon. Although her grandfather feels it is a waste of money, she and her cousins are hoping for success. They assemble a "spaceship" to imagine the blast-off. Everyone gathers around the TV to hear that, "The Eagle has landed." Mae asks her grandfather to watch the moon walk with her. As she does, she thinks about the hard farmer's life he has had, perhaps along with the extra burden of being an African American. Watching the live TV picture from the moon thrills all the family, "And maybe even President Kennedy too…" Later her grandpa encourages Mae to "Keep on dreaming." On the front of the cover we meet a contemplative Mae under a half-circle moon. On the back, we see more of Pinkney's deft naturalism in a view of the moon approached by the space ship, displaying his esthetic sensitivity as he designs his scenes to provoke our sense of wonder, along with the emotions involved in the vicarious space adventure. His family portraits tell the tale of the millions who watched the event. Particularly potent is the textless double page watercolor image of the blasting off with the mingling of yellowish cloudy vapors against the deep blue of the distant sea. The human quality of his graphite, ink, and watercolor illustrations is more compelling than any photograph. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

K-Gr 3

A girl remembers the summer of 1969 and the first moon landing in this lushly illustrated, 40th-anniversary tribute. From her small town of Star, Mae and her family pray for the astronauts, she and her cousins build a homemade "rocket ship," and they all watch the historic moment on television. Pinkney's remarkable graphite, ink, and watercolor paintings evoke both the vastness of space and the intimacy of 1960s family life. Writing in the voice of a nine-year-old African-American girl, Aston is lyrical and sometimes evocative, though some of her narrative choices are overworked. The visual format of the free verses, with every line beginning with a capital letter, is distracting and interferes with the text's natural rhythms. The choice of the name Mae for the character who aspires to be an astronaut may be homage paid to Mae Jemison, and even the name of the fictional town seems to exist just for its metaphorical value. That said, this book offers children a close-up view of an experience that seems quaint today, but that was life-changing in 1969.-Lisa Egly Lehmuller, St. Patrick's Catholic School, Charlotte, NC

Kirkus Reviews
Twenty-three years before Mae Jemison became the first African-American woman to travel into space, a young girl living in the small Southern town of Star anxiously awaits the first step of a man on the moon. In a child's voice but with lovely storytelling cadences, Aston tells the story of the excitement, anticipation and skepticism felt by one family on July 20, 1969. Young Mae and her family go about their normal routines-church, picnicking, play-but take time throughout the day to gather around the television to watch history being made. While Mae is excited, her Gramps, like many Americans, feels the space program is a waste of money but nevertheless encourages her granddaughter to dream. Pinkney's vibrant illustrations exquisitely complement the moving story. The double-page spreads of the the rocket traveling through space from Earth to Moon express the enormity of the moment, and the characters' emotions are palpable. While the family is African-American, there is no explicit connection to the historical Jemison, rendering this tale gorgeously universal. (Picture book. 6-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803731073
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 10/16/2008
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 575,196
  • Age range: 6 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Dianna Hutts Aston is the author of Mama's Wild Child / Papa's Wild Child, When You Were Born(Candlewick), and An Egg is Quiet(Chronicle). She lives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Jerry Pinkney has been illustrating children's books since 1964 and has the rare distinction of being the recipient of:

Five Caldecott Honor Medals

Five Coretta Scott King Awards

Four New York Times Best Illustrated Awards (most recently 2006 Little Red Hen)

Four Gold and four Silver medals from the Society of Illustrators

Boston Globe Honor Book Award (John Henry 1994)

In addition to his work on children's books, he is an extremely successful artist who has had eleven one-man retrospectives at venues ranging from the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists to the Art Institute of Chicago. His current one-man show entitled, "Building Bridges, the Art of Jerry Pinkney" was organized by the Pittsburgh Children's Museum and will be traveling through 1998. Mr. Pinkney has illustrated for a wide variety of clients, including National Geographic , the National Parks Service, the U.S. Postal Service, the American Library Association and the Association of Booksellers for Children.

Born in Philadelphia in 1939, Jerry Pinkney states, "(I) took an interest in drawing very early in my life, and at some point I realized I'd rather sit and draw than do almost anything else." While growing up in the Germantown section of Philadelphia his interest in art was supported by hisfamily — especially by his mother. "She certainly understood me and made it clear to everyone that if art was what I wanted to pursue, then that's what she wanted to have happen. My father also became very supportive, and when I wanted to take art classes after school he found ways for me to attend."

In junior high school Mr. Pinkney had a newsstand and took a drawing pad with him to work every day and sketched passersby. That was how he met the cartoonist John Liney, who encouraged him to draw and showed him the possibilities of making a living as an artist.

After graduating from the commercial art program at Dobbins Vocational School, where he met his wife, author Gloria Jean Pinkney, Jerry Pinkney received a full scholarship to attend the Philadelphia Museum College of Art (now University of the Arts). While at PCA he and Gloria married. After their first child was born, they moved to Boston, where Mr. Pinkney worked as a designer at Rustcraft Greeting Card Company, and at Barker-Black Studio where he developed his reputation as an illustrator. Eventually he opened Kaleidoscope Studio with two other artists. Later he opened his own freelance studio — Jerry Pinkney Studio — and moved to New York. Sensitivity to and an interest in a variety of cultures has always been a dominant theme of Mr. Pinkney s work. He has also drawn inspiration for a significant part of his work from African American culture. Among his numerous projects are his twelve postage stamps for the U.S. Postal Service Black Heritage series. Mr. Pinkney was a member of its Advisory Committee for ten years and he was also invited to join the NASA artist team for the space shuttle Columbia. "I wanted to show that an African American artist could make it on a national level in the graphic arts. I want to be a strong role model for my family and for other African Americans."

Many of Mr. Pinkney's children's books celebrate multicultural and African American themes. "Working on both the Uncle Remus tales and John Henry has shown me an important link between pivotal and opposite African American folk heroes. Brer Rabbit, the sly trickster, originated during slavery and was the first African American folk hero. Slaves who wanted to get the better of their masters needed to be cunning and sly — hence the trickster role. However, later comes John Henry, a free man, whose strength and valor bring him fame. He was a strong folk hero for African Americans, a symbol of all the working men who made a major contribution to the building of the roads and railroads in the mountains of West Virginia — a dangerous job for which many paid with their lives."

Mr. Pinkney's two latest books areThe Little Red Hen and The Old African by Julius Lester (illustrated by Jerry Pinkney). Books give me a great feeling of personal and artistic satisfaction. When I'm working on a book, I wish the phone would never ring. I love doing it. My satisfaction comes from the actual marks on the paper, and when it sings, it's magic".

Jerry and Gloria Pinkney live in Westchester County, New York. The Pinkneys have four children: Troy, Scott, Brian, and Myles, and seven grandchildren. Two of the Pinkney's children are also involved in children's book illustration, Brian through illustrations, and Myles throughphotography. In addition to illustrating children's books and other projects, Mr. Pinkney has also been an art professor at the University of Delaware and State University of New York at Buffalo. He has given workshops and been a guest lecturer at universities and art schools across thecountry.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 28, 2012

    Both historical and touching, this book gives a rich social cont

    Both historical and touching, this book gives a rich social context of the moon launch to a little black girl in 1969. It captures the world's excitement about the event as well as reasons for elder's skepticism. But it's a great book to share with children about how an event can inspire a dream in a child and how that dream can come true. Ostensibly, the book is about Mae Jemison as a child, who then went on to become an astronaut. Read it to my 3 and 1 year, but can't wait until they are older when the same book will take on a deeper meaning after learning social studies in school.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2012

    Highly recommended

    I found this book appropriate for children.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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