Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 came out just in time for the 40th anniversary of the first manned flight to the moon. There has been a lot of coverage about it this week, and Brian Floca's book will give younger readers the chance to learn about that historic flight in a wonderful picture book format.
Moonshot is written in simple, yet lyrical, prose and details the astronauts' journey from donning their astronaut gear pre-flight to their ultimate splash down a week later in the Pacific Ocean. In between, readers will pick up some remarkable facts about the flight of Apollo 11.
There are the specifics of the actual spaceships, the Columbia and Eagle and the massive Saturn V that powered them into space. The role of Mission Control is shown, and readers will see how they tracked every movement of the flight from take off to splash down. They'll also learn about the astronauts-Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. Details of their journey are addressed in a readable, kid-friendly way. For instance, the book talks about how they ate and slept and kept track of their things in the floating cabin, and yes, even how they used the toilet.
The watercolor drawings are quite detailed and very well done. It's a big book that lends itself to lots of double page spreads. I think it would be a fine read aloud for a teacher to a class, as long as the kids could take it to a corner afterwards and pour over it.
I was a little girl when Armstrong and Aldrin first walked on the moon and I remember my mom sitting us in front of the television to watch this historic moment. There's a wonderful picture in the book of a family seated around the t.v., celebrating when the Eagle landed. Moonshot captures the mood of the time perfectly and educates today's children on this remarkable event. Five lunar landings followed Apollo 11, and it's hard to believe that no one has been back to the moon since 1972.
BookNosher Tidbit: In the short time since it came out, Moonshot has picked up number of starred reviews including: Booklist, Horn Book Magazine, School Library Journal and Kirkus Review.
You can also go to Brian Floca's website and read an in depth article about the drawings in the book. It's fascinating to read all the things he thought about in the creation of this book.
BookNosher Activity: If you find your child is fascinated with all things related to space, check out NASA's website for kids. There are lots of games and projects for kids of all ages. (It's also available in Spanish.)