Go For The Moon: A Rocket, A Boy, and the First Moon Landing (Chris Gall)

Hello, friends! To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, our book today is Go For The Moon: A Rocket, A Boy, and the First Moon Landing by Chris Gall.

Based on the author’s childhood memories, our story begins with a young bespectacled boy preparing for the event of the century: the launch of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. He has his astronaut outfit, and has built models in every scale of the remarkable equipment that will be used in the real mission: a water rocket like the Saturn V, a cardboard command module clubhouse, miniatures of the astronauts and even of the LEM. Following along on his fuzzy tv, he re-enacts the mission as he watches it unfold – but when Neil Armstrong takes his historic first steps, silence falls and all eyes are glued to the television in wonder. Once the astronauts return safely to earth, the boy begins planning his next launch, a lifelong love of astronautics ignited.

A wonderful balance of education and nostalgia. As outlined in the afterward, Gall draws on his own memories of a childhood inspired by the Apollo missions and what they achieved, and this personal connection shows on every page. The mechanics of the moon launch are explained in a detailed yet accessible manner that shows a passion for the science, and the little boy’s perspective that weaves the story together captures both the excitement and awe of experiencing the landing live. Detailed drawings capture the spirit of both perfectly – a spread of the astronauts floating in their module, Buzz Aldrin breaking the fourth wall as he smirks at the reader is especially joyful. The length is best for older bookworms, but some of the technical jargon can be skimmed over for younger readers; JJ still appreciated the lovely illustrations, even if the tech was a little advanced for her right now. Overall, a lovely historical account of a seminal moment in human history, and Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Moonshot: The Flight Of Apollo 11 (Brian Floca)

Hello, everybody! Today’s book is Moonshot: The Flight Of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca, a beautiful and informative account of the mission that put the first man on the moon.

It is a quiet, peaceful day in the warm sun of Florida, but three men are preparing to make history: they will be the first men to walk on the moon. The book walks you through their preparations, their challenges, and the exciting moment that the whole country was waiting for. Our cold and distant moon without life becomes the home for two brave explorers for a brief moment in time, but one that changed the course of human history forever.

I love historical children’s books, and this one is a real gem. The text is surprisingly lyrical for being so info-based, told in a sort of stream-of-consciousness style that flows well and makes it feel much more like a story than a simple recitation of facts. The illustrations are gorgeous: detailed, lifelike, and incredibly accurate. The length was far too long for baby bookworms (JJ was definitely wriggling and getting distracted long before we reached the ending), but older children with a fascination for space exploration, or children who simply love a good adventure story, will love this one. Definitely Baby Bookworm approved!

The Darkest Dark (Chris Hadfield & Kate Fillion)

Hello, friends! Today, we read The Darkest Dark, written by Chris Hadfield and Kate Fillion, and illustrated by The Fan Brothers, a story based on Hadfield’s childhood fear of the dark, and how overcoming it changed his life.

Little Chris is an astronaut. Each day, he explores the vast cosmos in his cardboard rocketship; each night he won’t get out of the bath because he is busy battling aliens. But even brave astronaut Chris is scared of something: the dark. He doesn’t like sleeping in his room; it’s far too dark, and that’s when the spookiest aliens come out of hiding. His parents try everything to help, but Chris is too scared. But one night, he and everyone on his small island gather around to watch a man land on the moon for the first time. Chris is astonished. He sees that space is the darkest dark of all, but it doesn’t scare him. Seeing those astronauts jumping on the moon, Chris decides to brave the dark, because he wants to explore every corner of it. He learns the dark doesn’t just hide the scary things, it hides the wondrous things, too. 

This book was a lot of things in one, which is great. First, it’s a book about overcoming fears, specifically of the dark and sleeping alone, something that almost every little one goes through at some point. I love that this fear is alleviated by encouraging one’s curiosity to explore the unknown of the dark rather than fear it. It’s also a wonderful slice of life during a seminal moment in American history, and a true story of what inspired a real-life astronaut, both of which are educational and encouraging for young minds. Lastly, the Fan Brothers supply their gorgeously enchanting art, bringing to life the weird, wonderful, and epic creatures a child’s imagination can conjure. This is a very cool book, and we highly recommend it! Baby Bookworm approved!