With the 50th anniversary of the moon landing being celebrated this July, I’m seizing the opportunity to share all of the fantastic Space-themed books I’ve been enjoying recently.
‘Molly’s Moon Mission’ by Duncan Beedie (Templar Books)
Duncan Beedie is one of my favourite picture book creators. All of his books are right on target as far as I’m concerned and ‘Molly’s Moon Mission’ is no exception.
Molly loves her home and her family but she yearns for a great adventure. Molly is determined that she is going to be the first moth to reach the moon and begins her training in earnest. Finally, she is ready. Off she goes! But reaching the moon is no easy task. Can a moth as small as Molly really make it? The journey won’t be easy; there’ll be many obstacles in her path but maybe, just maybe, Molly will be the one to take a giant leap for moth-kind.
A gorgeous story in its own right which would also be perfect for promoting the values of resilience and determination. Book Boy Jr. has it on his repeated bedtime story roster.
You can listen to Duncan chatting on my Library Girl And Book Boy podcast HERE (or on most other listening platforms.)
‘The Darkest Dark’ by Chris Hadfield, illustrated by The Fan Brothers (Macmillan Children’s Books)
This is a special edition of real-life astronaut Chris Hadfield’s gorgeous semi-autobiographical story of a young boy who’s afraid of the dark but wants to be an astronaut. It also includes a bonus glow-in-the-dark poster.
This story is inspired by Chris’s own childhood and witnessing the monumental Apollo 11 moon landing of 1967. The boy, Chris, is far too busy attending to astronaut business such as flying to Mars or defeating aliens to do boring things like take a bath or go to bed at night. Particularly because it’s so very dark at night. And the dark is scary. Dark is when the worst sort of aliens come out.
Desperate for a good night’s sleep, his parents tell him that if he doesn’t sleep in his own bed for the whole night, they’ll all be too tired to go to their neighbour’s house the next day to watch the moon landing on their tv. Determined not to miss such a special day, Chris tried his very hardest. But will he manage it?
‘The Space Train’ by Maudie Powell-Tuck, illustrated by Karl James Mountford (Little Tiger Press)
Jakob lives aboard the Fortuna Space Station, light years away from Earth. For company he has granny, a robot chicken called Derik and a rather grumpy ToolBot who only wants to watch tv. As a result of his explorations of the space station, Jakob has found something rather large and rather mysterious in Hangar 19 – the old Space Train. The Space Train used to criss-cross the the universe on stardust tracks, calling at 2,747 stations!
Jakob is desperate for him and Granny to fix it because the Space Train may just be the way for him to meet some other children to play with. But repairing the rusty, ancient craft won’t be easy. The whole team will need to help us they’re to complete the mammoth task.
I love the retro feel to the glorious illustrations accompanying this intergalactic space adventure. There are also peep-through holes and plenty of flaps to explore as you’re reading.
‘Field Trip to the Moon’ by Jeanne Willis, illustrated by John Hare (Macmillan Children’s Books)
Imagine going on a school trip to the moon! What would you see? What would you do? Get ready to blast off on an adventure!
Told from the perspective of the rather shy group of aliens who inhabit the moon, the story follows a girl who doesn’t want to follow the rest of the group but instead settles down in a quiet spot to draw. The aliens are amazed by the wonderful colours she uses but dismayed when she misses the shuttle back home.
What will happen when the girl realises she isn’t alone? Will she be able to get back home again? A beautifully-illustrated story about individuality, making friends and exploration.
‘Arty! The First Artist in Space’ by William Bee (Pavilion Books)
The world’s most artistic frog is back and this time he’s blasting off into Space, where no other artist has ever been before.
The Space Agency has long been desperate for an artist to go into Space to create some out-of-this-world works of art, but so far they’ve all refused. Arty isn’t keen either but his art dealer, Mr Grimaldi thinks it’s a fantastic money making opportunity and persuaded him to go.
After some intensive astronaut training, Arty is ready to go. Will the scientists be impressed by Arty’s biggest ever piece or will they explode like a supernova?
‘Teachers on Pluto’ by Lou Treleaven (Maverick Books)
This is the third book in the ‘Pen-pals on Pluto’ series and would be perfect for people just starting to read chapter books. It is cleverly told through robot reports and combination of letters and postcards sent from and to Jon and his parents.
Jon lives on Pluto, over half a billion kilometres from Earth, and attends Flumpenslurp Blurble School. He had thought Pluto would be just about far enough away to mean that he never had to see his much disliked teacher, Mrs Hall, ever again. Apparently not! She is going to be taking over as temporary President of Pluto, which means a dramatic increase in spelling tests for Jon and his best friend Straxi.
When a vicious, giant mutant snargler gets loose, Jon and Straxi know just what they need to do – borrow the class robot for the weekend and head off on an adventure!
‘Jasper: Space Dog’ by Hilary Robinson, illustrated by Lewis James (Strauss House Productions)
Jasper and his owner Charlie Tanner have a lot of questions about Space and the Apollo 11 moon landing. The book is written as a series of humorous, fact-filled letters between the pair and rocket scientist Dr. Isabella Starr.
The pair would like to know all sorts of things, such as: is the moon really made of cheese? Could they eat hotdogs in Space, and whether or not Jasper could become a Space Dog. Dr. Starr and the team are keen to have Jasper on their crew but he’s not sure if it’s for him.
Lots of facts about the momentous moon landing have been cleverly woven into this highly-illustrated and funny book.
Well I hope you’ve found something there to help inspire young astronauts!
*Thank you to all the publishers who sent me these titles to review*