cover image Grandpa Takes Me to the Moon

Grandpa Takes Me to the Moon

Timothy R. Gaffney. HarperCollins, $16 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-688-13937-7

Inspired by the author's meeting with James Irwin, an astronaut who walked on the moon in 1971, this picture book introduces places its young narrator at the center of a story about a lunar landing. A boy imagines himself sharing his grandfather's trip to the moon, the subject of his favorite bedtime story. After blasting off from Florida, the pair drives around the moon in a buggy, collects dust and rock samples, and erects an American flag. Gaffney's (Chuck Yeager) simple, serviceable prose converts scientific details into experiential descriptions, as in this account of dropping a rock: ""It falls in slow motion to the ground. Dust splashes up around it and falls back like water."" The description of the sky--""There is no air on the moon to make the sky blue. Space and black sky come right down to the ground""--carries a similar sense of wonder. Root's (Wan Hu Is in the Stars) watercolor and gouache paintings create striking lighting effects, whether for cozy bedtime scenes in the boy's room, the bright billowing pastel clouds of the take-off or the still dim surface of the moon. Root captures especially well the camaraderie between the two moon walkers, their shared excitement visible even beneath space helmets. This book makes a momentous and remote event engagingly accessible. Ages 4-up. (Aug.)