Footprints on the Moon

Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
Footprints on the Moon Book Poster Image
One boy's view of the Apollo 11 mission.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this story takes place in England, so the time of the moon landing reflects U.K. time rather than that of the United States. Otherwise, the thoughts, dreams, and facts are realistic, and the narrative contains nothing inappropriate.

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What's the story?

A young boy who is fascinated by the moon and outer space spends his evenings staring out his window at the night skies and dreaming about the amazing world out there beyond his reach. He studies maps, collects clippings, plays at being an astronaut, and then, one day, he is lucky enough to watch the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Is it any good?

The title of the book FOOTPRINTS ON THE MOON so appropriately captures the fascination the boy has with the moon, and the effect the Apollo 11 landing had on him. It's the same fascination that anyone living through this time felt as they watched those men walk on the surface of the moon. Something that seemed so unreal was actually made real by the presence of those footprints, and the fact that they still remain makes it all the more amazing.

The boy seems like so many young kids in the '60s who caught the space fervor. His story is told with contagious enthusiasm, in language that is descriptive, in a kid-like way, yet filled with specific details that most space-crazed kids would know. The illustrations are reminiscent of those in the Dick and Jane books, though with a hazy, dream-like overlay that makes this all look like a memory. And, as we learn in the end, that is exactly what it has been for the man who, still fascinated with the moon, has told this story of his youth while staring out his bedroom window at the nighttime sky.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the moon and space, and what it would be like to go there. They might talk about why the moon changes shape. Why are the footprints of the astronauts still there? Why is the boy, and then the man, so inspired by the idea of the remaining footprints? Parents and kids might dig out a moon atlas or map and find out more about the geology and names. And, they could talk to someone who, like the boy, remembers watching the Apollo 11 moon landing and ask them how they felt that day. How did seeing men on the moon change the way they thought about outer space? They might even start a scrapbook about the moon and space, like the boy did.

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