cover image The Far Side of the Moon: The Story of Apollo 11’s Third Man

The Far Side of the Moon: The Story of Apollo 11’s Third Man

Alex Irvine, illus. by Ben Bishop. Tilbury House, $16.95 (64p) ISBN 978-0-88448-452-3

While Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are household names, “the only thing most people know about Michael Collins is that he didn’t get to walk on the moon.” Irvine and Bishop aim to remedy that with this graphic biography, which traces Collins’s upbringing and NASA career through his selection for the Apollo 11 mission and his life afterward. Bishop works in a rough, schematic style, and his liberal use of swaths of black, accented with violet, makes the vastness of space felt in nearly every panel. Unfortunately, Irvine’s writing tends to be flat and halting, as well as repetitive (“They were about to try to do something that no one in the history of the human race had ever done”; “Collins and Armstrong had just pulled off a flight maneuver that no one in history had ever done before”). Direct quotations from Collins appear occasionally, though their sourcing isn’t always clear. Bishop’s spec-like images of equipment and rocket trajectories aid substantially in understanding the challenges these astronauts faced. Ages 8–12. (Mar.)