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Moon over Star /

On her family's farm in the town of Star, eight-year-old Mae eagerly follows the progress of the 1969 Apollo 11 flight and moon landing and dreams that she might one day be an astronaut, too. Full description

Main Author:
Other Authors: Pinkney, Jerry,
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2008
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In July 1969, the world witnessed an awe-inspiring historical achievement when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the moon. For the young protagonist of this lyrical and hopeful picture book, that landing is something that inspires her to make one giant step toward all of the possibilities that life has to offer.

Caldecott Honor-winning painter Jerry Pinkney and the poetic Dianna Hutts Aston create a moving tribute to the historic Apollo 11 Mission, just in time to commemorate its upcoming fortieth anniversary.

Review by Booklist Review

The narrator of this picture book recalls the first walk on the moon, which she witnessed as a child on her grandparents' farm. She and her cousins build their own spaceship from scrap wood and metal, but they run inside for the broadcast of Apollo 11's lunar landing. Later, the family gathers around the television again to watch astronauts step onto the moon. As she tells her grandfather, If they could go to the moon, / Maybe one day I could too! Near the story's end, Grandpa calls the girl Mae, a name recalling African American astronaut Mae Jemison. Spaced vertically in phrases like free verse alongside the large illustrations, the text combines dignity and immediacy in a clean, spare telling of events. Pinkney's evocative artwork, created using graphite, ink, and watercolor, depicts a black family captivated, and perhaps subtly changed, by the moon landing in 1969. A quiet, satisfying tribute to this milestone in human history and its power to inspire others.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2008 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

The 1969 moon landing is the locus for this inspired collaboration. Aston (An Egg Is Quiet) subtly inserts facts about the Apollo 11 mission into a broader, poetic story about the excitement it generates in an eight-year-old's community. Mae, the narrator, begins the day in church with her grandfather, where everyone prays for the astronauts. Later, as she and her cousins build a play spaceship, she thinks more about her grandfather, a hardworking farmer who considers the space program a waste of money. By the end of the evening, the whole family has seen Neil Armstrong on the moon, and Mae's quietly confided dream of going to the moon someday has reminded Gramps of the wonder in his own childhood (afterward, "A sigh in Gramps's voice/ Made my heart squeeze"). In some of his finest watercolors to date, Pinkney (The All-I'll-Ever-Want Christmas Doll) supplies both his characteristically affectionate, realistic portrayals of African-American families and lyrical views of the moon, giving visual form to what Aston evokes: awe. Ages 6-8. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-A girl remembers the summer of 1969 and the first moon landing in this lushly illustrated, 40th-anniversary tribute. From her small town of Star, Mae and her family pray for the astronauts, she and her cousins build a homemade "rocket ship," and they all watch the historic moment on television. Pinkney's remarkable graphite, ink, and watercolor paintings evoke both the vastness of space and the intimacy of 1960s family life. Writing in the voice of a nine-year-old African-American girl, Aston is lyrical and sometimes evocative, though some of her narrative choices are overworked. The visual format of the free verses, with every line beginning with a capital letter, is distracting and interferes with the text's natural rhythms. The choice of the name Mae for the character who aspires to be an astronaut may be homage paid to Mae Jemison, and even the name of the fictional town seems to exist just for its metaphorical value. That said, this book offers children a close-up view of an experience that seems quaint today, but that was life-changing in 1969.-Lisa Egly Lehmuller, St. Patrick's Catholic School, Charlotte, NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Dianna Hutts Aston is the author of Mama's Wild Child / Papa's Wild Child, When You Were Born (Candlewick), and An Egg is Quiet (Chronicle). She lives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Jerry Pinkney is one of America's most admired children's book illustrators. He has won the Caldecott Medal and five Caldecott Honors, five Coretta Scott King Awards, five New York Times Ten Best Illustrated Awards, the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, and the Society of Illustrators' Original Art Show Lifetime Achievement Award, and many other prizes and honors. Recently a member of the National Council of the Arts and inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he has also served on the U.S. Postal Service Citizen's Stamp Advisory Committee. His artwork has been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the country, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Schomburg Center, and the Norman Rockwell Museum. Jerry Pinkney lives with his wife, author Gloria Jean Pinkney, in Westchester County, New York.