Monday, October 27, 2008

Team Moon - Genre 4 Nonfiction and Biography

Thimmesh, Catherine. 2006. Team moon: How 40,000 people landed Apollo 11 on the moon. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN 0618507574
Plot Summary
This book tells the many little stories and incidences that made up the event of Apollo 11 - the moon landing. Thimmesh gives details into the behind-the-scenes work and the little known people that made Apollo 11 happen. She takes the reader from the early developmental stages of the trip to its splash landing back on earth.

Throughout, many quotes and photographs are included to document the event. The author concludes the book with a note that acknowledges the work of others who weren't necessarily mentioned in the book but who were still important to the project. The note also discusses the whole space program of which Apollo 11 was just one part. Also included are pictures of vaious key figures or representatives along with a quote about how that person or group supported the trip. The final pages list the sources, notes, acknowledgements, credits, references, index, and glossary.
Critical Analysis
This chronological telling of Apollo 11 is done very well. The author does an excellent job describing the large number of people involved in this one trip. The reader gets a feel for the excitement, the panic, the relief, and the exhileration of the people involved in each step of the process. Thimmesh also lets the reader know how involved each step of the process was. From the design of the various vehicles, suits, and tools to monitoring the sensors and even just relaying messages, the reader can really get a sense of the number of designers, engineers, mathmeticians, scientists, etc. were involved from day one and had to be on call throughout for those 'just in case' moments. Every single seemingly insignificant measurement, adjustment, wire, and lightbulb were of great importance.

In addition to the descriptions and quotes provided, the photographs help bring the story to life. Students today weren't alive during the race to the moon and have only limited exposure to space travel in general. This book helps recapture the feelings of those times and introduces them to a whole new generation.
Professional Review Excerpt
from School Library Journal In infectiously hyperbolic prose that's liberally interspersed with quotes and accompanied by sheaves of period photos, Thimmesh retraces the course of the space mission that landed an actual man, on the actual Moon. It's an oft-told tale, but the author tells it from the point of view not of astronauts or general observers, but of some of the 17,000 behind-the-scenes workers at Kennedy Space Center, the 7500 Grumman employees who built the lunar module, the 500 designers and seamstresses who actually constructed the space suits, and other low-profile contributors who made the historic flight possible. Despite occasional contrast issues when the white-on-black text is printed over blown-up photographs, this dramatic account will mesmerize even readers already familiar with the event–and also leave them awed by the level of care and dedication it took to surmount so many daunting technological challenges. 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.
~The obvious connection for this book would be in a scientific study of the moon, space, and/or space travel.
~The book could also be used to study the history of the Cold War and the race to be the first to land on the moon.
~One could also use the book to discuss all the different occupations necessary to complete one task. Many occupations and responsibilities are discussed showing the many different angles from which such a large goal must be approached.

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