cover image Moon Plane

Moon Plane

Peter McCarty, . . Holt, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-7943-2

McCarty's (Hondo and Fabian ) silvery-white pencil illustrations and unadorned sentences make for an evanescent airplane journey. A vintage twin-engine aircraft (the popular Douglas DC-3, introduced in 1935) soars into fluffy gray-and-white clouds as the book begins. "On the ground/ a small boy/ looks up./ He wonders/ what it would be like/ to be on that flight." Readers see a boy with a dandelion puff of light hair, knee-deep in fuzzy lichen-gray grass, then inside the plane, gazing out the window with a look of wonderment. The plane passes over an olive-gold convertible and "a train/ speeding down the tracks," allowing for another '30s reference to the famous Santa Fe Super Chief passenger line. This is no ordinary voyage, however, because the mysterious plane "would fly into/ outer space." McCarty shows it leaving Earth's orbit and gliding over a cratered but soft-focus Moon surface. The young passenger, in luminous astronaut gear, steps out and takes some weightless hops before climbing back aboard. In a haunting image whose layout recalls Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World , the child runs home through the soft grass, then into the arms of his mother, who has been taking laundry off the line as an airplane flies high above. McCarty's narrative unfolds in a whisper, with quiet words and cushiony layers of soothing gray. Despite a potentially exciting blastoff, the classic machines never sputter or roar, and every detail seems well-insulated in reverie. This bedtime story for flight fans has the loft of a goose-down pillow. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)