I was 8 years old when Neil Armstrong landed the Eagle on the moon and awkwardly climbed down the ladder to step on that cold, grayish, surface. It is a clear memory. Gathered around our black-and-white TV set on our harvest gold and avocado green cushions, just about holding our breath with the awe and suspense and excitement. Walter Cronkite rubbing his hands together like a giddy schoolboy.
Floca captures the sense of exotic distances, the intrigue of the astronauts’ fascinating equipment, the mammoth size of the rocket, the tension of a dangerous lunar landing, with language that is both uncomplicated and poetic, suited to a 5-year-old and riveting for an adult. Meanwhile, his watercolor illustrations include bright, detailed glimpses inside the spaceship, with its hundreds of switches and rogue floating pencils, and awe-inspiring looks at the lonely space capsule moving through star-studded blackness. Together, the partnership of words and pictures delivers a fantastic account packed with both information and emotion.
The end pages of the book are crammed with cool information for the older crowd — technical details of the rocket and its various flight stages and a lengthy account of the process from JFK’s 1961 speech through the final Apollo mission — suited for folks perhaps 12 years old and up.
I am a Brian Floca fan and this book is another one of his that reaches out and grabs the attention, especially of young boys.
Here’s the Amazon link: