Thimmesh, Catherine. 2006. TEAM MOON: HOW 400,000 PEOPLE LANDED APOLLO 11 ON THE MOON. New York. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN 0618507574
2. PLOT SUMMARY
TEAM MOON: HOW 400,000 PEOPLE LANDED APOLLO 11 ON THE MOON is an exceptional book that tells a story that most people know the ending to but has never heard in this much details of how the adventures of three astronauts began. It all began in May of 1961 when President John F. Kennedy stated, “I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade it out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth.” From this simple statement thousands of people around the United States began to make this dream become a reality. The first pieces of items that had to be created and built were the actual spacecrafts that would fly in outer space and land on the moon. Theses two spacecrafts were later named the Eagle and Columbia, both smaller than a compact sized car. On July 16, 1969 Apollo 11 with astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin blasted off into space. Once Columbia was in the air there were 8 challenges that both the astronauts and team crew had to work through together to make this mission a success. Apollo 11 will always be remembered as the first mission to have men land on the moon but it should also be remembered for bring so many people together to accomplish the same goal.
3. CRITICAL ANALYSIS
What an outstanding book and beautiful pictures of the entire process of Apollo 11 in 1969. Throughout the book the reader gets to see pictures of the people behind the scenes, the actual spacecrafts, walking on the moon, and the descent back to Earth. Along with the actual story of Apollo 11 there are 11 additional pages in the back of the book that outline the people in the book, sources, chapter notes, additional sources, acknowledgments, further exploration into the Apollo missions, index and glossary. These are all great tools to use to teach students about the items that a well written non-fiction book should have. The only organization tool that this book doesn’t have is a table of contents at the beginning but the book does have sub-headings on most pages.
Catherine Thimmesh has done her research on Apollo 11 and the inter-workings of NASA. A reader would know this by examining the two page list of references and sources she used to make the book. You also see this as you read through the book and come across direct quotes from people who lived through this amazing time. These quotes give the book a clear and lively feeling as you read each page. She has also captioned all the pictures throughout the book allowing readers to know exactly where and how these pictures were taken. These pictures allow the reader to really feel like they are walking in the moon with Neil Armstrong. They also go perfectly with the text that is also on that page.
4. REVIEW EXCERPTS
*Publishers Weekly- “This behind-the-scenes look at the first Apollo moon landing has the feel of a public television documentary in its breadth and detail…. the author maintains a conversational tone, and tackles and explains tough topics such as "cluster interference" in parachute deployment and a bit of the chemistry behind developing the astronauts' dramatic photographs, many of which illustrate the story.”
*Children’s Literature- “For those who really want to know more, there is an excellent list of sources, chapter notes, and a list of places. mainly web sites. where one can find additional information. In addition, there is a fairly extensive index and glossary. All in all, Thimmesh's book is an excellent choice for anyone interested in the story of America's effort to put a man on the moon.”
*School Library Journal- “Drawn from personal interviews and oral histories as well as a wide array of published sources, this stirring, authoritative tribute to the collective effort that left "...footprints, crisp and clear, pressed purposefully and magnificently into the lunar dust" belongs in every collection.”
*Kirkus Review- “For me, that was the time in history and the event to participate in above all others." That comment, from one of the 400,000 involved in the team effort to put men on the moon in 1969, sums up the essence of this dramatic account of the work of people behind the scenes in the Apollo program. Illustrated with striking black-and-white photos, the white text on a black…. background of each page underscores the risk of this venture into the unknown. The authors emphasizes the paper-and-pencil calculations, the endless testing and checking, and elaborate recordkeeping that supported this work, and the sense of personal responsibility each participant felt. This beautiful and well-documented tribute will introduce a new generation to that triumphant time.”
*Winner of the 2007 Robert F. Siebert Informational Book Award
*NCTE Orbis Picture Honor Book
*Incorporate book into a Social Studies lesson where students can write their own informational paper on Apollo 11.
* Discuss with the students the other Apollo mission from Apollo 1 to Apollo 17, and create a chart with their lift off date and major accomplishments.
* Read other books about Apollo missions:
- MOON LANDIN: A POP-UP CELEBRATION OF APOLLO 11. ISBN 9780763640460
- YOU WOULDN’T WANT TO BE ON APOLLO 13!: A MISSION YOU’S RATHER NOT GO ON. ISBN 9780531166505
-FIRST ON THE MOON: WHAT IT WAS LIKE WHEN MAN LANDED ON THE MOON. ISBN 9780786804894