This is an absolutely gorgeous book. Oversized, glossy pages, beautiful paintings by former astronaut Alan Bean — it’s a book that I want to own just so I can page through over and over again, looking at it all.
The text supports the beauty of the book. Chronicling the Apollo moon missions (Apollo One, and then Seven through Fourteen), Chaikin details the work, the amazement, the passion that the astronauts had for exploring the moon. It’s not a book that’s done in great detail — it is for younger kids, after all — but it does have some interesting facts. Instead of delving into the details of the missions, Chaikin chooses to highlight the enthusiasm for space and the moon, the drive to get men there, and the dangerous job the astronauts had to do. There are also pages throughout about the practical side of space travel — from going to the bathroom to adjusting to zero G, to why astronauts were held in quarantine — fascinating tidbits that made this surreal experience (especially for those of us who weren’t alive when this was happening) more real.
Not only is it a beautiful and interesting book, but it’s one that hopefully will inspire people to study space, to want to return to the moon. Or, at the very least, you’ll react like me, and want to watch movies and drag the family to NASA in Houston, just to get another glimpse at this remarkable time in history.