The Moon Over Star

Dianna Hutts Aston, Author, Jerry Pinkney, Illustrator , illus. by Jerry Pinkney. Dial $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-803-73107-3

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.)

Reviewed on: 10/27/2008
Release date: 10/01/2008
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