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Cover image for Moonshot : the flight of Apollo 11
Moonshot : the flight of Apollo 11
Other title(s):
Flight of Apollo 11
New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, [2009]
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 31 cm
General Note:
"A Richard Jackson book."
Here is the story of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon -- a story of leaving and returning during the summer of 1969, and a story of home, seen whole, from far away by steady astronauts in their great machines.
Reading Level:
990 Lexile.

Ages 4-7.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader LG 4.8 0.5 129861.

Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.8 0.5 129861.

Reading Counts RC K-2 7.4 2 Quiz: 45606.


Call Number
629.454 Floca 2009
J 629.45 FLOCA
629.45 Floca
629.454 FLOCA
J 629.45 Floca
JNF 629.45 FLOCA
J 629.454 Floca 2009
JNF 629.454 Floca

On Order



Look for the newly expanded edition of Moonshot , coming in to orbit on April 9th, 2019!

Brian Floca explores Apollo 11's famed moon landing with this beautifully illustrated picture book!

Simply told, grandly shown, here is the flight of Apollo 11. Here for a new generation of readers and explorers are the steady astronauts, clicking themselves into gloves and helmets, strapping themselves into sideways seats. Here are their great machines in all their detail and monumentality, the ROAR of rockets, and the silence of the Moon. Here is a story of adventure and discovery--a story of leaving and returning during the summer of 1969, and a story of home, seen whole, from far away.

Author Notes

Brian Floca was born and raised in Temple, Texas. He graduated from Brown University and received his MFA from the School of Visual Arts.

Brian Floca is the author and illustrator of Locomotive, winner of the 2014 Caldecott Medal. He has also written and illustrated Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11, Lightship, The Racecar Alphabet, and Five Trucks. He is the illustrator of the Poppy Stories series, by Avi; Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring, by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan; Kate Messner's Marty McGuire novels; and Lynne Cox's forthcoming Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas. His books have received four Robert F. Sibert Honor awards, an Orbis Pictus Award, an Orbis Pictus Honor, a silver medal from the Society of Illustrators, and have twice been selected for The New York Times' annual 10 Best Illustrated Books list.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 6

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5-Large in trim size as well as topic, this stirring account retraces Apollo 11's historic mission in brief but precise detail, and also brilliantly captures the mighty scope and drama of the achievement. Rendered in delicate lines and subtly modulated watercolors, the eye-filling illustrations allow viewers to follow the three astronauts as they lumber aboard their spacecraft for the blastoff and ensuing weeklong journey (".there's no fresh air outside the window;/after a week this small home will not smell so good./This is not why anyone/wants to be an astronaut"). They split up so that two can make their famous sortie, and then reunite for the return to "the good and lonely Earth,/glowing in the sky." Floca enhances his brief, poetic main text with an opening spread that illustrates each component of Apollo 11, and a lucid closing summary of the entire Apollo program that, among other enlightening facts, includes a comment from Neil Armstrong about what he said versus what he meant to say when he stepped onto the lunar surface. Consider this commemoration of the first Moon landing's 40th anniversary as a spectacular alternative for younger readers to Catherine Thimmesh's Team Moon (Houghton, 2006).-John Peters, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Floca's rendition of Apollo 11's journey to the moon is as poetic as it is historically resonant. The first page offers a quiet meditation: "High above/ there is the Moon,/ cold and quiet,/ no air, no life,/ but glowing in the sky," followed by the astronauts preparing for the voyage and then a dramatic liftoff ("The rocket is released!"). Once in space, the lunar module, Eagle-"a stranger ship, more bug than bird,/ a black and gold and folded spider"-locks onto the Columbia. The subdued illustrations hold an undercurrent of emotion (as a family hears the report that the Eagle has landed safely, the father wipes his eyes with awe and relief). A stirring depiction of a momentous event. Ages 4-7. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

(Primary) This fortieth anniversary year of the moon landing will likely see many books published on the topic; Floca's visually sublime picture book will rise above most. Clearly he has researched his subject thoroughly, as indicated by the opening timeline and diagram on one set of end pages, the source notes opposite the title page, and the extended discussion on the closing end pages. Yet Floca distills all of his gathered knowledge into a concise text, selecting the exact details to transform science into relatable experience: "Here below / there are three men / who close themselves / in special clothes, / who-click-lock hands / in heavy gloves, / who-click-lock heads / in large, round helmets." Throughout the book Floca engages the reader both with his spare lyricism and with his watercolor and ink pictures. He uses the format to perfection, with large pictures to communicate size, power, and perspective; sequenced panels to show steps unfolding; and small pictures to catch particular moments. The artistry in book design and illustration is demonstrated by such stunning double-page spreads as the one containing the word liftoff, which shows just the bottom of the immense rocket as it begins to rise. Libraries will be dismayed by endpapers filled with important information, some of which may get covered up; but the heart of the book is complete and intact within, allowing children to be drawn into the wonder of the first moonwalk. From HORN BOOK, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

A fresh, expanded edition of Floca's top-drawer tribute to the first moon landing, which won a Sibert honor in 2010.New here is an early nod to the "thousands of people" who worked behind the scenes to make the mission a success (a nod echoed in the closing recap) and a much-enlarged account of Apollo 11's return flight to Earth. Both include new art: For the first, a set of vignettes clearly depicts women and people of color playing prominent roles (including a recognizable Katherine Johnson), and for the second, the 2009 original's two pages grow to eight, climaxed by a close-up of the command module Columbia's furious, fiery re-entry. The narrative, along with having expanded to match, has been lightly tweaked throughout but remains as stately and dramatic as ever: "But GO, GO, says Mission Control: / Eagle, Houston. You're GO for landing.' / Far from home and far from help, / still steady, steady the astronauts fly, / as time and fuel are running out." Minor changes in other illustrations and added or clarified details in the text add further life and luster to a soaring commemoration of our space program's most spectacular achievement. This is the rare revised edition that adds enough new material to demand purchase.Still essential reading, more so than ever for being broader in scope and more balanced of presentation than the original. (Informational picture book. 7-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

The original Moonshot (2009) became a bright star in the constellation of children's space-travel books. Published on the fortieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, it told how astronauts traveled to the moon, walked on its surface for the first time, and returned to Earth. For 10 years, this Sibert Honor Book has wowed its audience. How is the revised edition different? The text is more inclusive (no longer implying that only men worked in NASA's control room) and more expressive, through better placement of phrases on the page. Eight new pages offer room for two worthwhile additions. First, an early double-page spread acknowledges and depicts racially diverse groups of individuals representing the thousands of men and women who planned the mission, designed and built the spacecraft, made the spacesuits, and so on. Later, six new pages allow for a fuller portrayal of the mission, including the night spent on the moon, Eagle's crucial docking with Columbia, and the capsule's dramatic reentry into Earth's atmosphere. The new illustrations in this section work beautifully with the well-chosen words. Telling the Apollo 11 story more fully while recognizing the contributions of women and minorities, here's an engaging, enlightening, and timely new edition of this visually stunning book.--Carolyn Phelan Copyright 2019 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

HALF A CENTURY later, the story of the first lunar landing still has the capacity to astound. These picture books, many with all-ages appeal, combine artful, accurate texts and wondrous images to introduce a new generation to the Apollo program - and some of the 410,000 people who made it possible. IN CHRIS GALL'S GO FOR THE MOON: A ROCKET, A BOY, AND THE FIRST MOON LANDING (Roaring Brook, 48 pp., $19.99; ages 5 to 10), it's 1969, and a young narrator acts as an earthbound crewmate, keeping pace with the Apollo 11 astronauts from his suburban backyard. Double-page spreads juxtapose the stages of the journey, from launch to triumphant splashdown, with inset images of a Tang-sipping kid in hornrims and sneakers, building and transporting his model rocket, testing out a cardboard lunar module and joyfully bounding through his own moon walk after watching Neil Armstrong's first steps on a fuzzy blackand-white television. Throughout, the boy uses soccer balls, string and other everyday objects to explain underlying concepts such as thrust and landing angles. Working in a crisply delineated digital style that gives shapes an almost 3-D quality, Gall balances densely explanatory pages with wide-angle scenes filled with tension and drama. Readers who want close-ups of fuel cells and docking components will find those specifics, while others can take in the miraculous big picture: the small silver capsules traveling through blackest-black space. Best of all, Gall's young narrator shows how leaps of imagination can transform the grandest milestones into the most personal experiences. IN ANTICIPATION OF this summer's anniversary, Brian Floca set out to update his extraordinary 2009 account of the first moon landing, which was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book that year, among other awards. He emerged from the project with a substantially expanded edition, which includes eight new pages of artwork and additional text. The newly revised moonshot: the FLIGHT OF APOLLO 11 (Richard Jackson/Atheneum, 56 pp., $19.99; ages 4 to 10) IS even more glorious than the original, and also more inclusive. Whereas the 2009 edition focused on the three astronauts, here there are more vignettes of the diverse men and women - white, black and brown - whose ingenuity and labor made the mission possible: the "thousands of people, / for millions of parts." New lines of text retain the grace and clarity of Floca's economical free verse while adding information, such as the tricky logistics of spacecraft rendezvous. And as before, Floca's artwork remains an extraordinary delight for a reader of any age. Like the astronauts' own photographs, his expansive, heart-stopping images convey the unfathomable beauty of both the bright, dusty moon and the blue jewel of Earth. SEVERAL NEW BOOKS focus on individuals rather than overviews of the big event. Suzanne Slade's a computer called Katherine: HOW KATHERINE JOHNSON HELPED PUT AMERICA ON THE MOON (Little, Brown, 40 pp., $18.99; ages 4 to 8) picks up the story of the "human computers," of "Hidden Figures" fame. Slade, a mechanical engineer who has worked on rockets for NASA and the Air Force, brings deep background knowledge to her biography of Johnson, an African-American math prodigy who overcame barriers of race and gender to become a profoundly influential member of the Apollo missions' team. Slade writes with appealing rhythm and repetition, and she folds in a clever game of false equations to emphasize moments of injustice: Limited beliefs about women's professional roles, for example, are "as wrong as 10 - 5 = 3." In her picture-book debut, the illustrator Veronica Miller Jamison mixes neatly composed, straightforward action with inventive, swirling images dramatizing Johnson's brilliant calculations. The story is followed by an informational spread that includes a rousing quote from Johnson: "Girls are capable of doing everything men are capable of doing." The astronaut Alan Bean was the fourth person, and the first artist, to walk on the moon. Written with assistance from Bean, Dean Robbins's the astronaut who PAINTED THE MOON: THE TRUE STORY OF ALAN BEAN (Orchard/Scholastic, 40 pp., $17.99; ages 4 to 8) intersperses action scenes from the Apollo 12 mission with moments from Bean's life, as he learns to combine his love of flight with his urgent wish to "paint what he saw." After returning to Earth, Bean is disappointed with photographs that fail to capture the moon's "barren beauty." So, with color and imagination, he paints "how stunning outer space looked through his eyes. How it made him feel." A final striking spread pairs reproductions of photographs taken by Apollo 12's astronauts and Bean's paintings of the same scenes. The astronauts are friendly, relatable characters in Sean Rubin's jewel-colored, crosshatched artwork, which smooths out narrative shifts with skillfully extended motifs, including aircraft that transform from model airplanes to Air Force fighters to the Apollo 12 rocket as the pages turn. And as in Bean's paintings, a brilliant palette animates the scenes of space with vibrant, palpable energy. More than an account of a singular figure, Robbins's notable biography is a beautiful reminder that science and art are a vital combination and, together, can create new understanding. OF COURSE, for some children, the details of the Apollo missions may seem as dull and unappealing as freeze-dried food. Young kids, especially preschoolers, may want to start with something more familiar - the moon itself. Susanna Leonard Hill's MOON'S FIRST FRIENDS: ONE GIANT LEAP FOR FRIENDSHIP (Sourcebooks, 40 pp., $17.99; ages 3 to 6) sparks lunar interest with an age-old approach: Put a face on it. Forget the Man in the Moon (or the rabbit). This cheerful title introduces a rosy-cheeked, eye-lashed "Queen of the Night Sky," lonely after 4.5 billion years of silvery bright solitude. Humans' experiments with early air flight get her hopes up, but alas; she remains alone, despite her efforts to attract attention, including a solar eclipse. Then, "one hot July day," visitors arrive. Elisa Paganelli's textured digital artwork extends the winsome story with a cozy version of space, a soothing, star-speckled blue rather than bottomless black, and watched over by the eager, anthropomorphized "queen," who cheers as the Eagle lands right between her eyes. The book's substantial back matter about the Apollo 11 mission seems aimed at older siblings, rather than the story's primary young audience. A more immediate connection might come from a QR code printed on the endpapers, which leads to NASA's sound file of Neil Armstrong's first words after his ever-astonishing "one small step." GILLIAN ENGBERG is a former editorial director of books for youth at Booklist.