Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 197

Picture Book: The Moon Over Star     

Author: Dianna Hutts Aston

Illustrator: Jerry Pinkney

Summary: The Apollo 11 mission is viewed through the eyes of Mae and experienced in her family in various ways in their little town of Star. Mae is inspired and hopes to go to space one day. In contrast, her Gramps thinks the space program is a waste of money, but he still prays for the astronauts. Along with her siblings and cousins, Mae helps build a wooden rocket for a reenactment of the launch which they saw on TV. Later the entire family watches as the announcer declares, “The Eagle has landed,” and Neil Armstrong walks on the moon. Mae begins to realize that her grandfather’s dreams have been stifled. Perhaps that is why he is lacking enthusiasm. The whole family gathers for a nighttime picnic to look at the moon. Gramps ends the evening admitting the significance of the events and encouraging Mae to keep on dreaming.

Hanna’s Comments: This is such a beautiful and intertwining story of history and family! As usual, Jerry Pinkney’s artistry is amazing. This time he alternates between depictions of the family and the space mission. I especially loved the way young Mae is so in tune with her grandfather and his lack of enthusiasm while also being very invested in the historic nature of the events happening so far away. This is a book about loving engagement with family and the world. There is also a church scene in which the congregants pray for the astronauts. Because there is no doctrine in this scene, I consider it still a secular book, but the intercessory prayers are a nice aspect of the plot. This is not about a real girl, and yet I categorize it here as Nonfiction because if offers insight into actual events and allows for lots of supplemental material when planning its use in your community of faith.  

Publisher & Date of Publication: Dial Books, 2008

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 6 and up, 1st and up

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Audio download, There is a video of the Apollo 11 lift off on  

PBT Category: Non-fiction, Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: America, ancestors/patriarchs & matriarchs, aspirations/dreams, attentiveness/observation/seeing, awe, Earth/world, exploration, family, grandparents, heaven/sky, humanity, journeys/migrations/pilgrimages/quests, milestones, moon/space/stars/sun, prayer, presence, reverence

Scripture Connections: God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1); when I look at your heavens (Psalm 8:3)

Idea(s) for Application: Use this book when teaching children about the importance of praying about important issues and for those involved in current events. 

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