Aside from a design gimmick, there’s not much worth notice in this routine, scattershot history of space flight.
Big, double slide-out panels are used to good advantage in presenting a 40-inch-long portrait of the Saturn V rocket and smaller but still eye-filling images of both a space shuttle and the spidery International Space Station. Elsewhere, though, said panels just function as added space for more of the self-contained, interchangeable bite-sized picture-with–explanatory-caption units that are mechanically lined up on each spread. Following quick looks at rocketry and the solar system, Goldsmith presents Space Race highlights imbued with nationalistic fervor (Sputnik I “did nothing other than send out a constant radio signal”; Alan Shepard’s hop into space “did much to restore U.S. national pride”). He then goes on to sketchy surveys of satellites, space stations and space probes sent to other planets. His final spread, headed “Modern Missions,” contains no specific mention of developments in commercial space flight more recent than Dennis Tito’s 2001 jaunt. The digital paintings (a few of which feature cutaway views beneath flaps) are clear and sharply detailed—unlike the scanty assortment of murky photos mixed in.
A one-trick pony, grounded by uneven production values and low octane content. (index) (Novelty nonfiction. 9-12)