Suzanne Slade, author
Suzanne Slade is a mechanical engineer who worked on Delta rockets for NASA. She has written more than one hundred children's books, including Dangerous Jane, Out of School and Into Nature: The Anna Comstock Story, The Inventor's Secret: What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford, Friends for Freedom: The Story of Susan B. Anthony & Frederick Douglass, and The House That George Built. Suzanne lives near Chicago, Illinois.
Alan Marks, illustrator
Alan Marks is the illustrator of many books for children, including The People of the Town, High Tide for Horseshoe Crabs, Behold the Beautiful Dung Beetle, Little Lost Bat, A Mother's Journey, and Storm, winner of the Carnegie Medal. Alan lives in Kent, England.
- Coming soon!
Booklist, starred review
It's easy to forget the days of men on the moon were few and over swiftly. This look at the "daring dozen" tells their stories in brief, but with the fascination factor on full display. Beginning with the first moon landing in 1969, Slade introduces the Apollo astronauts, who fulfilled their tasks, be it finding a special kind of rock or exploring the moon's topography. Nor are the vehicles involved in the moon landings ignored: they are tucked in the text and on full display in the backmatter, where there's information and photos on both the spacecraft that brought the astronauts to the moon and back and the lunar rovers and modules that so ably assisted in the astronauts' tasks. While the backmatter is highlighted by photographs, the text's paintings are sweeping, capturing some of the wonder the 12 experienced as they found themselves in an environment untested by any but themselves. The pages depict the way several astronauts personalized their journeys, with a flag, golf club, or photo of their family, adding another layer to both the astronauts' and readers' experiences. An outstanding choice for children who are just beginning to know about moon landings and appended with enough information about each flight so that young students may use it too.
Fifty years after the first moon landing, a solemn commemoration of the Apollo 11 to 17 missions. Taking poetic license—she includes nods to the astronauts who remained in lunar orbit and also those aboard the nearly disastrous Apollo 13, so naming 21 in all—Slade briefly describes in present tense each mission's discoveries and highlights, then goes on in a separate section to offer expanded fact summaries about each, along with describing the Apollo rockets and vehicles. Marks' impressionistic views of our remote satellite ("A quiet place where / no wind blows, / no water flows, / no life grows") seen from Earth and of heavily burdened astronauts bounding across grayish-brown moonscapes beneath deep, black skies give way in the second section to small photos, including group portraits of each (all-white and -male) crew. Though aimed at a younger audience than her Countdown: 2979 Days to the Moon, illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez (2018), this history takes up where that one leaves off and so works equally well as a stand-alone tribute to the Apollo program's achievements or as a lagniappe. An inspiring reminder that there are footprints on the moon, addressed to readers who may one day leave some of their own.
School Library Journal
Concise text and stunning watercolor illustrations present information about the Apollo missions that carried twelve American men to the surface of the moon. From Apollo 11 in 1969 to the Apollo 17 mission ending in 1972, each journey is briefly described focusing on its particular astronauts and goals. The artwork effectively reflects the history of space travel laid out in the text, but also adds grace and wonder to the stories of these men who had a a rare and significant experience. Thirteen pages of back matter include a note from Alan Bean, the fourth man to walk on the moon, plus a timeline and detailed information about each of the space vehicles. Every mission has its own extra page of additional information with personnel, photos, specific dates, total time on the moon, and surface EVA time (extravehicular activity). VERDICT: The information about U.S. space travel, coupled with vivid illustrations, will appeal to readers interested in astronauts and the moon. The ample facts and data following the illustrated story make the book effective for a wide range of ages.
National Space Society
As an aerospace historian I’ve read many highly detailed descriptions of the human venture into space and have authored a few myself. So, I’m familiar with the Apollo program in detail. This is, however, the first children’s book on space flight that I’ve reviewed. The book is a brief summary of the six Apollo missions that took men to the lunar surface—written for 5- to 9-year-olds.
It was a new experience for me to evaluate it from the dual perspective of imagining a child reading it, and a parent (grandparent) evaluating its content and helping to explain some of the more challenging concepts of this high-tech adventure to kids with a limited (but growing) vocabulary.
The book is essentially divided in two segments; the first 32 pages are adorned with simple hand-drawn illustrations (by artist Alan Marks) which capture the essence of the adventure and a brief (20-40 words) description on each page. Each of the six Apollo missions is covered on two to four pages. The author’s prose in this part of the book, while well chosen for the age group, uses graphic descriptions in an almost poetic manner, and sneaks in some new words and is thought provoking. It also uses a few “old words” with new meanings. There is periodic reference to some of the scientific work done by the astronauts.
The second half is a straight forward summary of each mission with such details as the total hours spent on the Moon and the number of Moon-walks (extravehicular activities). It has actual photos of each crew, their activities on the Moon, the Saturn V rocket and various spacecraft components.
There is a further reading list, source notes, and a selected biography to channel added engagement into the topic. If the parent is under 50, chances are they will learn many interesting aspects of the Apollo Program that escaped them in their earlier years. The timing for the release of this book is relevant because of the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing in July of 1969.
The book is well done, and my only problem was not being able to find any kids to read it with—all my grandkids are over 20!
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Page count: 48
10 x 10