Brian Floca’s “Moonshot” (Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books 2009) is hands-down the best recounting of the historic Apollo 11 mission that landed the first men on the moon. Floca’s poetry, coupled with his stunning images, truly captures the majesty of the historic feat. Here is one of my favorite stanzas:
“They go rushing into darkness,/flying toward the Moon,/far away,/cold and quiet,/no air, no life,/but glowing in the sky.”
Floca periodically repeats his description of the Moon, giving children a touchpoint as the Moon goes from lifeless to full of life as Armstrong and Aldrin land. Once the men are on the Moon, Floca contrast’s the Moon’s cold lifelessness with the Earth, which is covered with air, water….and life.
My husband picked up this book at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum several years ago, and we’ve been reading it to our older son since he was four. It’s a little bit long for a bedtime story at this age (48 pages), however, we’ve read this book countless times, poring over the oversized pages (they measure almost 12 x 11 inches). For parents and older children, there is detailed front and back matter showing the various stages of the Apollo spacecraft, how the stages separated after launch, as well as providing a brief overview of the Apollo program and its historical origins.
“Moonshot” is truly a masterpiece for any child interested in space, the planets or explanation.