Great Illustrated Books


By Brian Floca

Atheneum, 2009
Pages : 48
Suggested Ages: 6-4
ISBN: 141695046X

In an oversized nonfiction picture book, illustrated with meticulous and often awe-inspiring full-page art, done in watercolor, ink, acrylic, and gouache, follow the preparations of Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins on their historic July, 1969 mission to the moon. Large-sized print makes this look like an easy reader, though it is far more complex and descriptive than Floca's Sibert Honor book, Lightship. Here, the present tense text reads like free verse, and illustrations shift between exterior renderings of what's outside the rocket, inside looks at the three men, and a glimpse of  a family-a mom, dad, and their two children-watching the skies and their TV console back here on Earth. Inside the cramped, equipment-filled, gravity-less cabin, we see the three men working, one of them upside down and another reaching for a floating flashlight. The painting of the still-joined Columbia and Eagle approaching the white cantaloupe-like moon in the black star-specked sky is breathtaking, as are the ones of Eagle landing on the moon and Armstrong standing on its surface.

Readers can compare Floca's book, which is more about the mission then the men, with Robert Burleigh's One Giant Leap, which describes the very same mission, also in free verse, but with a more personal focus. Compare the artwork in both to the many photographs in the Sibert Medal winner, Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon by Catherine Thimmesh. For kids who say, "I want to do that when I grow up," share Meghan McCarthy's Astronaut Handbook with them so they'll know how to start preparing for their future.

Reviewed by : JF.


If you love this book, then try:

Aldrin, Buzz. Reaching for the Moon. HarperCollins, 2005.

Brown, Don. One Giant Leap: The Story of Neil Armstrong. Houghton Mifflin, 1998.

Burleigh, Robert. Flight: The Journey of Charles Lindbergh. Philomel, 1991.

Burleigh, Robert. One Giant Leap. Philomel, 2009.

Floca, Brian. Lightship. Atheneum, 2007.

Florian, Douglas. Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars: Space Poems and Paintings. Harcourt, 2007.

Krupp, E. C. The Moon and You. Macmillan, 1993.

McCarthy, Meghan. Astronaut Handbook. Knopf, 2008.

McNulty, Faith. If You Decide to Go to the Moon. Scholastic, 2005.

Reeve, Philip. Larklight. Bloomsbury, 2006.

Ride, Sally. To Space and Back. Lothrop, 1986.

Schyffert, Bea Uusma. The Man Who Went to the Far Side of the Moon: The Story of Apollo 11 Astronaut, Michael Collins. Chronicle, 2003.

Simon, Seymour. The Moon. Simon & Schuster, 2003.

Thimmesh, Catherine. Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon. Houghton Mifflin, 2006.

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