Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon
Ill admit right off the bat that Im probably a bit partial to this book because I cut my (reading) teeth on the grandmasters of science fiction (Heinlein, Asimov, Haldeman, etc. etc.) and I have a soft spot for space exploration. That said, I challenge any American scratch that any person to read this little book and not feel a swell of pride at what we humans can accomplish when we put our minds to it.
There are four criteria to look at for Cybil consideration: the writing, kid/adult appeal, innovation, and whether or not the book speaks to you as a reader. I think Team Moon hits every nail on the head.
Catherine Thimmeshs prose if very accessible and readable, at both a childs level and at an adults. Almost conversational at times, each section includes some type of cliffhanger or tense situation that keeps readers turning the pages to find out what happens next, even when the actual outcome (i.e. the successful landing and return of Apollo 11) is known.
The photo illustrations also bring the story to life; especially the idea of how so many people had a hand in the mission. Im as guilty as the next person before reading this book, I couldnt have named the third astronaut (Michael Collins) on the mission, while I could have readily told you all about Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong. Much less all the other thousands of people involved&while Thimmesh doesnt name them all (the book isnt big enough for that!), she provides far better representative coverage than any book Ive seen on the topic.
Format-wise, the side notes and even the photo captions added to the text in a nice way, serving to help bring the reader in, rather than distancing them (as many asides often do, by breaking the reader out of the story). Each section is short enough for table-top browsing (think coffee table book) or for a child with a short attention span. For readers as inspired as I was, the back of the book contains recommendations for further exploration, and even a brief description of all the other Apollo missions. Where was this book when I was in school? Even though this all happened years ago, reading about it now has made me more excited about the space program than Ive ever been.
I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed this one and I think you will be too. Its educational without being stuffy and interesting without being dorky. Highly recommended for ages 10 and up and space buffs of any age.