Thirty years ago, U.S. astronauts landed on the moon. To celebrate this historic triumph, many books have been issued to teach young minds about space travel.
First on the Moon tells the story through the accounts of Jan Aldrin, daughter of Buzz Aldrin, who was 11 years old when her father joined Neil Armstrong on the lunar surface. Telling the story in this manner helps young children personalize the moon landing and perhaps understand it better. Author Barbara Hehner includes fact boxes, neatly set aside on the outermost margins, which include photographs and describe important details of the moon landing story, such as moon rocks, space suits, and food. In addition to the photographs, Greg Ruhl's impressive illustrations add warmth to an event that is often depicted in cold technical terms.
Ian Graham's The Best Book of the Moon (Kingfisher, $10.95, 0753451743) also tells the story of the moon landing, but focuses on the moon itself. Many lunar mysteries are revealed here, through easy-to-understand text and colorful illustrations. Discover the moon's phases, history, faces; explore the mystery behind the moon's relationship with Earth's tides; learn about moon gear and moon bases. The Best Book of the Moon includes a glossary and topical index.
Moonlanding: The Race for the Moon (DK Publishing, $14.95, 0789439581) offers a step-by-step account of how the event became a reality. Part of DK's Discoveries series, Moonlanding includes chapters on the early attempts; testing and building rockets; missions beyond the first moon landing; disasters; and future possibilities. Wonderful photographs, diagrams, and fold-out pages give children a scientific account of space travel, yet the language is clear and dotted with anecdotal relevancy.
Leave it to Reader's Digest Children's Books to create an exciting format for teaching children about the planet they inhabit. Not exactly a book about moon landings or space travel, Journey to the Center of the Earth ($14.99, 1575842742) travels inwardly from Earth's atmosphere to its inner core. Journey uses fold-out and cut-out pages to show a cross-section of Earth's amazing layers and features. Oceans, continental drift, clouds, photosynthesis, jewels, volcanoes, among other topics, are explored and demystified. For example, did you know that the pressure is so great at the inner core, liquid iron turns solid, even at a temperature of 13,500 degrees Fahrenheit? These interesting and amazing facts about our planet remind children that while space discovery is exciting, there is plenty to discover here at home. Copyright 1999 BookPage Reviews
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2000 Spring
This story of the Apollo moon landing tells of both the historic space flight and the feelings of eleven-year-old Jan Aldrin as she watches events from Earth and waits for her father's return. Illustrated with color photographs and perhaps unnecessary original artwork, this cogent introduction is given added interest by supplying a child's perspective. A time line is included. Bib., glos.Copyright 2000 Horn Book Guide Reviews
School Library Journal Reviews 1999 September
Gr 3-6-Hehner begins her story on July 16, 1969, as the Saturn V rocket that would propel Apollo 11 toward its target stands on the launchpad at Cape Kennedy. She fills in some background by describing a tour of the facility that Buzz Aldrin gave his family six weeks earlier, focusing especially on Aldrin's 11-year-old daughter, Jan. The author then returns to the launchpad, resuming the countdown and follows the three astronauts on their historic mission, ending with the coast-to-coast ticker-tape parades on August 13, 1969. A brief epilogue sketches in a few highlights of later lunar flights; a time line of "Milestones in Space" and a brief glossary complete the book. In describing the mission, Hehner frequently returns to the Aldrin family, telling what they were doing and thinking during those long days. The informative and entertaining text is illustrated with an abundance of full-color and black-and-white photographs as well as paintings. Occasional sidebars offer additional information on the Saturn V rocket, space meals, the lunar module, and reentry. Michael Cole's Apollo 11 (Enslow, 1995) is comparable in scope, using fewer pictures and providing a bit more background on the three astronauts. Cole also footnoted quotations used in his text, something Hehner neglected to do. Nonetheless, First on the Moon will be useful for reports; pertinent information is clearly presented and easily extracted. The oversized format and attractive layout will draw browsers, and those just looking for a readable space adventure will find it here.-Elaine Fort Weischedel, Turner Free Library, Randolph, MA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.