Booklist Reviews

"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." Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews

Mae describes one day in 1969 when everyone was focused on the moon landing. Her grandfather doesn't feel the same enthusiasm, but as they watch the moonwalk, the pair share a moment of connection. Aston provides a tender, lyrical evocation of their relationship. Pinkney combines his signature watercolor scenes of family with spreads capturing the drama of the historic event. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews

Young Mae describes one day in the summer of 1969 when everyone's attention in her town of Star was focused on three astronauts and their historic moon-landing. Her family prays for the astronauts at church in the morning, and at noontime the children play at blasting off; they celebrate the successful landing in the afternoon and watch the moonwalk that evening. Mae can't help noticing, though, that her farmer grandfather doesn't feel the same enthusiasm, and she remembers his earlier grumbles about wasting money. Observing the deep lines in his "lifetime-tired" face, she discerns that his dreams may be different from hers of being an astronaut; but as they watch the moonwalk, the pair share a moment of connection as Gramps says, "I reckon that's something to remember." Aston provides a tender, lyrical evocation of a relationship, skillfully weaving in details that convey the historic weight of the event. Likewise, Pinkney combines his signature cozy watercolor scenes of family with spreads capturing the drama of a rocket blasting off and the beauty of the earth and moon highlighted against the dark expanse of space. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews

Twenty-three years before Mae Jemison became the first African-American woman to travel into space, a young girl living in the small Southern town of Star anxiously awaits the first step of a man on the moon. In a child's voice but with lovely storytelling cadences, Aston tells the story of the excitement, anticipation and skepticism felt by one family on July 20, 1969. Young Mae and her family go about their normal routines—church, picnicking, play—but take time throughout the day to gather around the television to watch history being made. While Mae is excited, her Gramps, like many Americans, feels the space program is a waste of money but nevertheless encourages her granddaughter to dream. Pinkney's vibrant illustrations exquisitely complement the moving story. The double-page spreads of the the rocket traveling through space from Earth to Moon express the enormity of the moment, and the characters' emotions are palpable. While the family is African-American, there is no explicit connection to the historical Jemison, rendering this tale gorgeously universal. (Picture book. 6-9) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Media Connection

This story captures a young African-American girl?s view of the United States space program in the 1960s. The success of the Apollo 11 mission moon landing in 1969 is inspiring for her and her future. The social life and space program images of the time period are depicted through Caldecott Honor winner Pinkney?s typically colorful and realistic illustrations. The text may be challenging for very young readers. Although this is a historical book, commemorating the mission?s 40th anniversary this year, it is an engaging story and would be a good choice for an elementary library collection. It will capture both space travel buffs and readers who enjoy an inspiring story. Recommended. Jo Monahan, Librarian, University of North Texas Libraries, Denton ¬ 2009 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

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.)

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School Library Journal Reviews

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

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