A stirring first-person account of “humanity’s greatest adventure” marred by distractingly unvarnished special effects.

The second man to walk on the moon tells his tale amid historical photos and pop-up spacecraft.

Aldrin offers a brief account of his astronautical career from a Gemini 12 spacewalk through Apollo 11’s splashdown, with overviews of other Gemini and Apollo missions, brief glances at some Soyuz missions, and a closing pep talk about future landings on Mars. Anecdotes, mostly about narrowly averted disasters (“We couldn’t get the pole more than a few inches onto the soil. I was afraid the flag would fall over with half a billion people watching!”), in the narrative and reminiscences by the astronaut’s daughter, Jan, on slide-out panels add immediacy to events that occurred half a century ago. Sheaves of photos and space art likewise make the experience vivid. The pop-ups incorporate some of the former but are inexpertly designed: The fronts of both a Gemini capsule and the spacesuit floating nearby are the same as the backs, major visible portions of the Eagle lander are just blank areas, and an abstract swirl that’s supposed to represent rocket exhaust at the base of a Saturn V lifting off doesn’t look like much of anything. Also, three of the five slide-out panels are blank on one side, and a multipiece punch-out standee of the Eagle is just laid in loose, sans sleeve or storage pocket.

A stirring first-person account of “humanity’s greatest adventure” marred by distractingly unvarnished special effects. (Informational pop-up. 8-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3249-4

Page Count: 16

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018



Fans of Terry Deary and Martin Brown’s Horrible Histories and their ilk are unlikely to consider this latest imitation more than an also-ran. Oliver surveys British history from the Isles’ Ice Age formation to the not-exactly-hot-off-the-presses 2005 news that London will host the 2012 Olympics. Though accurate enough in his broad picture, the author’s debatable facts (“…the Romans introduced really useful things such as toilets and even vegetables to the people of Britain”) and awkwardly written generalizations (“The Celtic kings consulted religious advisors to help them rule, known as druids”) drag the bland text down even further. Pinder's pen-and-ink illustrations attempt snark but too often fall flat: “That girl was always getting in my way,” remarks Bloody Mary as Lady Jane Grey’s newly severed head bounces by. This catalog of major British kings, queens, wars, pivotal events and cultural milestones is unlikely to entertain—much less resonate with—American audiences. (index, royal timeline) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-906082-72-7

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Buster/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2010




Thirteen prominent American men and women are briefly profiled in this collection. Chronologically ranging from Thomas Jefferson to Barack Obama, each entry features an inspiring quote from its subject and a concise explanation of his or her context in history. Opposite each page of text is a watercolor painting by the author depicting an image or montage of the notable individual and illustrating the work they achieved or how they lived. Each one evokes the emotions the book is meant to inspire: courage, strength and determination. Franklin Roosevelt gazes reassuringly out at readers above a line of hungry people at a soup kitchen; Rachel Carson smiles at readers against a picture of a soaring bald eagle and an inset of her peering into a microscope. The selection includes four women and five male ethnic minorities. Almost all are familiar faces in collective biographies, including Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, but some names may be new to young readers, such as Emma Lazarus and Cesar Chavez. Included in the backmatter are thumbnail biographies of each figure and a list of source notes. The profiles are indeed inspiring, and younger readers will likely learn something new. For deeper research, students will have to look elsewhere but could use this book as an excellent starting point. (Collective biography. 8-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8225-6810-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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