Reviews for How to Bicycle to the Moon to Plant Sunflowers : A Simple but Brilliant Plan in 24 Easy Steps


Booklist Reviews 2013 March #2
*Starred Review* In this unusual picture book, a boy shares his inventive plan for reaching the moon, planting sunflower seeds, and returning to a hero's welcome back on Earth. What with "homework, soccer, violin, and all the other stuff" on his schedule, he has never made the trip. Still, he happily passes along the practical details of his plan. Preparations include collecting and connecting all your neighbors' old garden hoses into one 238,900-mile length, building an enormous slingshot that will shoot one end of the hose to the moon (don't forget the anchor), learning to bicycle along the taut hose, and requesting a small spacesuit from NASA, among other important details. Brightly illustrated in cartoon-style panels as well as the occasional double-page spread, the imaginative, first-person text will be riveting for process-minded kids. Because, really, who doesn't want to make a giant slingshot using 2,000 interwoven inner tubes and a couple of birch trees on top of a hill, not to mention travel in space? Can't quite visualize it? Not to worry. Fresh and often-amusing ink drawings, brightened with color washes, illustrate every moment of the adventure. Gerstein, a Caldecott-winning illustrator, offers a uniquely entertaining picture book that glows with the satisfaction of a boy who knows he could travel to the moon. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
How would you get to the moon? To begin with, a giant slingshot fashioned from inner tubes can propel a line of garden hoses, anchoring it to the moon with a flagpole arrow. The second-person instructions are ingeniously detailed, brimming with an unfettered mix of real and pseudo information, as are the precisely imagined and neatly rendered illustrations.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2013 #3
How would you get to the moon? Here's "a simple but brilliant plan in 24 easy steps," instigated by the gap-toothed narrator's wish to comfort a sad-faced moon. What follows is ebulliently fanciful: a giant slingshot fashioned from inner tubes propels a line of garden hoses, anchoring it to the moon with a flagpole arrow ("Once the flagpole escapes earth's gravity, it will just keep going"); the narrator rides this tightrope line to the moon on her/his snazzy red, fully loaded bike in order to plant mood-raising sunflowers, then returns to earth ("The ride back will seem a lot faster"). The second-person instructions are ingeniously detailed and genuinely childlike, brimming with energy and an unfettered mix of real and pseudo information, as are the precisely imagined and neatly rendered cartoon-style illustrations. Readers may enjoy spotting a couple of small leaks in that hose en route (and in the daft logic, too, particularly concerning the behavior of the moon, which is conveniently full at irregular intervals), but that's all part of the fun -- as is the moon's cheery grin, now composed of sunflowers, on the last page. To be perused with glee by budding science-fiction fans and engineers. joanna rudge long

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Kirkus Reviews 2013 February #2
Sensing that the moon needs cheering up, a young inventor provides instructions for an expedition to plant sunflowers there. Gerstein, who profiled The Man Who Walked Between the Towers in 2003, had begun by imagining an even greater challenge, which he describes here. Addressing readers directly, his busy narrator offers a "simple but brilliant" 24-step plan for space travel using 2,000 used truck inner tubes for a slingshot; 238,900 miles of garden hose for a tightrope to the moon; and a suit borrowed from NASA. Special clamps will help the bicycle stay on the hose, which serves double duty; it's also a conduit for water for the plants. Step by step and sub-step, the boy explains the process. His instructions are straightforward but cheerfully outlandish. They include details with special appeal for listeners (the "really cool sound" of the launch). The pacing is perfect, and illustrations add to the humor. (Pay careful attention to the moon's changing expressions.) Pen-and-ink and oil-painted panels expand to show the journey. Captions, which had been securely attached to the edges of the frames while the boy was earthbound, float around on full-bleed double-page spreads until they sink back to the bottoms of the concluding panels. The whole is a grand flight of fancy perfect for a new generation of dreamers and planners. (Picture book. 5-9) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 February #4

Caldecott Medalist Gerstein (The Man Who Walked Between the Towers) kicks his imagination into high gear in this fantastical how-to book. A boy with spiky red hair and glasses shares his 24-step plan for planting sunflowers on the moon to cheer it up (Gerstein portrays it with droopy eyes and a frown). The Rube Goldberg-worthy expedition, chronicled in exuberant cartoon panels and comically deadpan narration, involves creating a giant slingshot to launch a flag pole/anchor harpoon into the moon (the satellite looks understandably alarmed as the boy's homemade missile approaches); then, wearing a spacesuit kindly donated by NASA, one can simply bicycle up to the moon on the 238,900 miles of garden hose attached to the harpoon ("Your mother will be sobbing, your father will shake your hand, and everyone else will say good luck and take care"). Throughout, the boy's emotions are genuine and infectious: he's moved by the beauty of Earth from space, shares feelings of loneliness on his journey, and is elated to see the results of his work after he returns home. Ages 4-8. Agent: Joan Raines, Raines & Raines. (Apr.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 April

Gr 1-3--The "can-do" attitude of this redheaded, gap-toothed hero; the outlandish plot; and quirky caricatures conjure up Gerstein's collaboration with Elizabeth Levy in the popular "Something Queer" series (Delacorte). The sensitive boy has always thought that the full moon looked sad. When his parents suggest that loneliness may be the cause, he determines that sunflowers are the solution. Speaking in the first and second persons, he describes his plan in illustrated steps, because "with homework, soccer, violin, and all that other stuff…I never had the time to carry it out…. Maybe it will be you!" In richly saturated panels, Gerstein imagines the things a child would gather to create a secure path between Earth and its moon-one that could also be used to water the plants. He suggests collecting 2000 used truck inner tubes (Uncle Russell has them), old garden hoses, an anchor, a flagpole, a long rubber band, and a good friend-to help create the giant slingshot that will launch 238,900 miles of hose/tightrope into space. Help from NASA and practice balancing a bicycle on a backyard hose would presumably prepare one for the longer trip. En route, the scenes switch to soaring vistas on full spreads. The protagonist imagines pedaling through clouds, sleeping within a panoramic sunset topped by twinkling stars, bouncing through craters with seeds and nozzle. Depending on which side of the brain readers favor, this story will either allow them to discriminate between fact and fiction or delight in the suspension of disbelief. Either way, they are sure to enjoy the ride.--Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library

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