Publishing: Atheneum, New York, 2009
Description: Floca tells about the historic flight of Apollo 11 and the landing of man on the moon. The book is beautifully designed as much or maybe more than creatively and informatively written, making use of endpapers and balancing detailed illustrations with large black spaces to reflect the subject matter. The text is rendered in short, poetic lines that reflect the magnanimity as well as the logistics of the trip.
Programming: It would be great to show a clip of the footage of Aldrin and Armstrong walking on the moon. Classes might take a trip to a local planetarium, and they could do all kinds of research about the preparations astronauts have to make to travel into space, as well as write about how they think they would feel.
Illustrated by Louis Slobodkin
Publishing: Hartcourt, New York, 1943
Awards: Caldecott Medal Winner
Description: Princess Lenore is very ill, and the only thing that will make her better is if she can have the moon. So her father, the king, calls upon his Lord High Chamberlain, wizard, and mathematician to try to get the moon for his daughter. Each says it is impossible and gives a different description of the size and distance to the moon. Finally, it is the jester who solves the problem by going back to the source: the princess herself. The cover of this book is much more colorful and intriguing than the rest of the illustrations, and the text seems a bit lengthy and pointless in places. (The lists each official gives the king, with items on the end that that man’s wife has added, for example.) These seem to be attempts at humor, but I am not sure if kids today would be intrigued enough by the pictures to listen.
Programming: This could be read with Kitten’s First Full Moon and similar discussions could take place: what does the moon look like? What is it made out of? With all of the characters and humorous dialogue, it might be good to do this story with puppets, or maybe have older students act it out.
Publishing: Philomel Books, New York, 1987
Awards: Caldecott Medal
Description: A little girl goes owling with her father. Illustrations contain a lot of blue, black, and white hues, but vary dramatically in perspective. The text is somber and consistent.
Programming: Scholastic gives a wonderful way to tie-in the different perspectives in the illustrations: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plan/owl-moon-extension-activities
Publishing: Greenwillow Books, 2004
Awards: Caldecott Medal, ALA Notable Children’s Book, School Library Journal Best Book, Publisher’s Weekly Best Book
Description: This beautiful black and white book follows a curious little kitten as she tries to get a drink from what she thinks is a big bowl of milk in the sky. The black and white highlights the night-time setting. The illustrations are varied in size and have enough detail to be interesting, but are simplistic enough to be elegant.
Programming: This sounds like a good time to talk about the phases of the moon. It might to too complex to explain why the moon changes shape, depending on your audience, but I think the fact that at different times it looks different ways could be said. Then, I like this idea of using oreos to show the different phases. Plus, I’m always a fan of eating. 🙂
Publishing: Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 2008.
Awards: Caldecott Medal Winner
Description: This night-time routine book works from outside the house (“this is the key to the house”) to inside a story book, back out again, and finally back in through the same series of steps. The black and white cross-hatched drawings are lightened with a soft yellow that mimics the glow of a lamp or the moon. This is a great bedtime story in the same vein as Goodnight Moon.
Programming: Kids could discuss/write about their own night-time routines. Because this book is inspired by the rhyme “This is the Key of the Kingdom,” it might be interesting to discuss the original rhyme and where/how the two differ. The words to one version of the rhyme can be found here: