cover image The Sea of Tranquillity

The Sea of Tranquillity

Mark Haddon. Harcourt Children's Books, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-201285-4

A British author recounts his boyhood fascination with the moon and with the rocketships and missions that preceded the first lunar landing. Haddon's text lyrically transports readers to that dramatic moment in 1969 when, in living rooms around the world, people saw men roving the moon's landscape. From the boy's dream of ``rocketing across the cold, black miles and landing on crumbly rock'' to the actual event of the two American astronauts ``bouncing through the dust in the Sea of Tranquillity,'' the author's measured tone weaves the aspirations of the heart with history. Full-bleed illustrations, softly textured as if seen through the scrim of time, interpret the text with judicious sentiment. For example, a pretend flag--the boy's blue-striped shirt with a red pocket--sounds a childlike echo when it appears in the boy's dream, planted on the moon beside the Stars and Stripes. Nostalgia, sweet and convincing, shines through the restraint of both text and illustrations. Ages 4-12. (Sept.)