Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11

Common Sense Media says

Masterful retelling captures magic, mystery of moon mission.





What parents need to know

Educational value

Readers will learn everything from how Saturn V, Eagle, and Columbia operated together to how astronauts use a toilet in space -- all wrapped up with a strong sense of time and place.

Positive messages

Three men were on Apollo 11, but the entire Earth was with them in spirit. Family, community, indeed all of humanity resonate here.

Positive role models

The astronauts are certainly brave, but the emphasis here is on curiosity and exploration.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know this book hints at the danger and risk inherent in space travel, focusing instead on the awe-inspiring momentousness of the Apollo 11 mission.

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What's the story?

The historic Apollo 11 mission is retold in free verse from the morning of the launch to the splashdown a week later, with perspectives of what’s happening in space and on Earth.

Is it any good?


Author-illustrator Brian Floca combines gripping narrative with a wealth of detail to deliver a beautifully poetic treatment of Apollo 11. Space and history buffs will find much to sink their teeth into, and anyone who likes a good story will find this compelling. Floca brings alive the electric excitement of 1969 with fluid text and illustrations -- such as a father sinking into his armchair in relief as his family cheers during coverage of the Eagle landing on TV. His phrasing is wonderful. Armstrong reports the landing “calm as a man who just parked a car”; the rocket "rides a flapping, cracking flame"; the astronauts on the moon gaze toward "family, friends, and strangers, everyone you've ever known, everyone you might -- the good and lonely Earth, glowing in the sky.”
The inside covers offer more to explore: In front, Floca provides a visual explanation of how Apollo 11 operated; in back, a detailed narrative of the event. This would be a treat to read with adults who remember Apollo 11.

Finely detailed artwork captures both the spectacular magnitude of the event, from liftoff to landing, and the fine details curious kids may spend hours exploring.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what the astronauts may have been feeling as they looked at the Earth from the moon. What might they have been thinking about? What might they have felt?

  • What about their families and friends back on Earth?

Book details

Author:Brian Floca
Illustrator:Brian Floca
Book type:Non-Fiction
Publication date:April 7, 2009
Number of pages:48
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 7
Read aloud:4
Read alone:6

This review of Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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