With that big ball of cheese hanging so temptingly in the sky, what’s a pair of hungry mice to do?
Marching to a pared-down rhyme of just three or four words per line, Alpaugh’s cute and capable mice determinedly gather tools and materials, design and build a rocket, and blast off. They touch down on a surface more like Roquefort than regolith and emerge from the capsule, equipped with a cleverly designed lunar backhoe: “Landing, standing / on the moon. / that’s one small step— / and one big spoon!” After they’ve stuffed themselves, there’s nothing left for an astonished young human astronomer back on Earth to see but a thin crescent. Presenting white, this child gapes up at the suddenly no-longer-full moon as the mouse astronauts tow their reentry capsule—and one last piece of moon—off the page. There’s lots of humor on the pages, from the mice wielding full-size human tools to a cheese-loving stowaway ant. A Right Stuff head-on view of the spacesuited mice, helmets under their arms, is particularly chuckleworthy. The venture recalls Andy Mansfield’s Journey to the Moon (2015), with its similarly cheesy climax, but it also pairs well with other extraterrestrial trips such as Dan Yaccarino’s Zoom! Zoom! Zoom! I’m Off to the Moon! (1997; tragically, out of print) and Nancy Shaw and Margo Apple’s Sheep Blast Off! (2008).
A winner for young sky watchers with stars…or cheese…in their eyes. (Picture book. 5-7)