Reviews for Mission Control, This Is Apollo : The Story of the First Voyages to the Moon


Booklist Reviews 2009 May #1
*Starred Review* As we move away from the twentieth century, the shining moment of the first moon landing seems to grow brighter. Placing that event within the context of the whole Apollo program, this handsome, large-format book spotlights 12 significant missions, from Apollo 1, with its fatal cockpit fire, to Apollo 17, with its sweet success and bittersweet awareness that the program was ending. Chaikin, author of A Man on the Moon (1994), has extensively researched the Apollo program and conducted hundreds of related interviews, including 28 with former Apollo astronauts. Beyond a wealth of pertinent anecdotes, this background knowledge brings a subtle understanding of complex decisions and human emotions at pivotal moments as well as a broad perspective as the Apollo missions moved gradually toward their goals. Informative, full-page sidebars focus on topics such as the work of the Mission Control teams and the early fear of "moon germs." NASA photos provide excellent color illustrations of the Apollo missions. More unexpected and personal are the many stunning paintings and insightful captions by Alan Bean, who walked on the moon during the Apollo 12 mission. Lists of recommended books, films, and Internet sites are appended. A beautiful, insightful, and highly readable presentation of the Apollo missions. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

----------------------
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Fall
With Victoria Kohl. Chaikin, drawing on his adult book A Man on the Moon, explores the piloted Apollo missions. Each of the twelve missions is covered in a detail-filled chapter, carefully outlining objectives and providing thrilling play-by-plays. The chapters flow seamlessly, allowing readers to see the missions' progression. In addition to historical photographs and technical diagrams, Apollo-astronaut-turned-artist Bean lends his accomplished paintings. Reading list, websites. Ind. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

----------------------
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2009 #4
In this outstanding history of the piloted Apollo missions, Chaikin conveys the excitement, tragedy, humor, and quest for knowledge that drove the golden age of the United States space program. Drawing on the extensive interviews he conducted for his book for adults (A Man on the Moon), Chaikin covers each of the twelve missions in a separate, detail-filled chapter, carefully outlining the objectives for each mission, showing how earlier failures or advances made by the Soviets prompted later technical adjustments, and providing thrilling play-by-plays of the space flights and moon landings. The chapters flow seamlessly, allowing readers to see the progression in the missions from tests of engineering to explorations of Moon geology. In addition to historical photographs and technical diagrams, Bean, an Apollo astronaut turned artist, lends his impressionistic paintings of the missions. Each has a caption in which he explains his thoughts behind the illustration or the events portrayed. His explanations are not to be missed, as he is extraordinarily articulate about his dual scientific and artistic perspectives on space. Space enthusiasts will savor many of the extras in the book, including coverage of space flight topics (ranging from the inevitable food and bathroom discussions to profiles of the massive scientific and technical efforts behind the missions), a list of the Mercury and Gemini missions that set the stage for Apollo, and an impressive list of further resources to consult. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

----------------------
Kirkus Reviews 2009 April #2
Based on interviews with 28 astronauts, this history of the Apollo program masterfully describes the missions and personalizes them with astronauts' own words. Chaikin starts with a brief overview of its origins and of the Mercury and Gemini missions. He then highlights the significance of each manned Apollo mission in chronological chapters, with full-page sidebars on such topics as food, TV coverage, space sickness and going to the bathroom in space. The handsome design has many photographs, diagrams of the rockets and modules and more than 30 well-reproduced paintings by Apollo 12 astronaut Bean. Often using pastels instead of the moon's grays, his very tactile style includes footprints from his lunar boots embedded in the most recent paintings, a technique described in an appendix. The large pictures of moonscapes, astronauts in spacesuits and equipment, which have similar styles and palettes, get repetitive but benefit from the long captions in which Bean adds personal details and reflects on his role as an artist. (authors' note, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

----------------------
School Library Journal Reviews 2009 May

Gr 5-8--Along with being based at least as much on personal interviews as on documentary and other sources, this album-sized history of the Apollo missions is also set apart by its unique illustrations. A former astronaut who walked on the Moon as part of the Apollo 12 crew, Bean has been for many years a full-time fine artist. He incorporates into moonscapes, spacecraft, and suited-up astronauts done over the course of his artistic career not only an unusually personal perspective, but also actual bits of moon dust, used mission patches, and other well-traveled memorabilia. He also provides illuminating, sometimes eloquent commentary in captions and a closing statement. Though the authors present an uncomplicated version of events with almost no discussion of the exclusion of women from the astronaut corps, for instance, and quoting Neil Armstrong's famous line as "one small step for a man" rather than what he actually said, they do tuck in memorable anecdotes (to the question "What's the most beautiful thing you saw in space?" an astronaut replies, "Urine dump at sunset"). They effectively highlight the Apollo program's magnificent achievements, as well as its moments of tension and tragedy. Supplemented with an admixture of photos and labeled diagrams, the large-scale art adds a dazzling visual element to this grand commemoration.--John Peters, New York Public Library

[Page 121]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

----------------------
VOYA Reviews 2009 June
This unique portrait of the Apollo voyages is a remarkable combination of intimate details of the space flights by one of the astronauts, historical and scientific details about the mission, and paintings by one of the astronauts. The extended introduction presents the mindset of America after Sputnik that set the stage for America's space program. Students will delight in details such as toilet procedures, meals, and clothing for moon walking. Alan Bean's paintings, which comprise a major part of the book, are accompanied by reflections from the artist/astronaut. He painted what he saw from his astronaut-artist's eye as Claude Monet might have done, rather than from his astronaut-geologist's eye. Each portrayal of an Apollo voyage provides personal details of the astronauts and paintings inspired by that voyage, as well as the expected details. Illustrations also include photographs from the voyages, such as earthrise from the moon's orbit, and photos of preparations. This book is truly a labor of love. It has places in art instruction and American history as well as science. It is identified as appropriate for ages eight to twelve, but the group that will most appreciate the book are those seniors who lived through these exciting days. It is indeed an important book for libraries serving all ages of readers.--Marilyn Brien Index. Illus. Photos. Maps. Chats. Biblio. Further Reading. Chronology. 5Q 3P M J S Copyright 2009 Voya Reviews.

----------------------