Moon Over Star

Moon Over Star by Dianna Hutts Aston, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney.

Journey back to 1969 and the lunar landing seen through the eyes of Mae, a young girl who has lots of dreams of her own.  Aston’s poetry pairs flawlessly with Pinkney’s illustrations as we see a group of children celebrate the landing in their own way.  They build a rocket of their very own with scraps from the yard and gather together with rapt faces watching the landing as it happens.  All are caught in the moment of history except Gramps who isn’t sure it has anything much to do with him.  But even he is captured when the landing itself is on TV, and he begins to recall his own dreams as a boy.

Both author and illustrator capture the same tone, something not easily done.  They both linger on images that unite us all.  Youth and age, hard work and dream, family both small and large.  Through Aston’s gem-like poetry we can experience the wonder of the day.   Through Pinkney’s illustrations we can see and also feel the heat, the closeness, the amazing moment.

An amazing achievement in cooperation, just like the lunar landing, this book truly brings the landing itself and its importance to modern children.  Appropriate for ages 4-7, it will be most appreciated by older children who can understand the beauty of the book.

Happenstance Found

Happenstance Found by PW Catanese.

Happenstance awakens with no memory of his past at all.  Ragged and blindfolded, he can hear the enormous worms outside the room he is kept in.  When Lord Umber arrives to take him, Happenstance discovers that his eyes are very special.  Bright green and sparkling, they can see in the dark and see farther than normal human eyes.   Taken home with Lord Umber, after escaping a labyrinth filled with man-eating worms on a erupting volcanic island, Hap finds himself encountering one wonder after another.  But there is something coming after Hap, something hunting him, something that will not give up easily.

An eerie, often scary, always gripping romp of an adventure novel, this book keeps readers guessing and enthralled to the end.  Catanese is a master of hair-raising escapades which make the book nearly impossible to put down.  His characters can sometimes be a bit stiff and cardboard, but they can also surprise with their depth.  Hap is an intriguing lead character filled with questions and few answers but also engaging in his quest to understand the world he finds himself in. 

Get this in the hands of tweens looking for a wild ride of an adventure novel and you will have them clamoring for the next book in the series.  Appropriate for ages 11-14.