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Reaching for the Moon    by Buzz Aldrin & Wendell Minor order for
Reaching for the Moon
by Buzz Aldrin
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2005 (2005)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This inspiring picture book opens on a quote from Buzz Aldrin, 'Now is the time to venture outward and see new wonders ... Now is the time for the youth of today, the third generation of future space explorers.' Aldrin's own story follows, illustrated by Wendell Minor's fine paintings. It's placed in context by a timeline of 'A Century of Flight and Space Exploration' at the back of the book.

Aldrin tells us how his father took him flying as a two-year-old. He speaks of rock collecting in the Appalachians, and of his worship of the Lone Ranger's 'Determination, strength, independence'. Aldrin attended West Point, joined the U.S. Air Force and flew combat missions in the Korean War. When he heard about the space program, the pilot went back to university to study aeronautics and astronautics. He specialized in 'rendezvous, learning how to bring two different objects together in space.'

On his second attempt, Aldrin was accepted into the space program. He speaks of astronaut training, what computers can and cannot do, his first mission on Gemini 12, and the mission to the moon on Apollo 11, 'a tiny bubble of air and warmth speeding through the icy cold of space.' In orbit around the moon, the spaceship separated into Columbia and the lander, The Eagle, which set down in a 'Magnificent desolation', where Aldrin collected rocks once more.

Having watched the moon landing in 1969, it was exciting to read details of events and feelings from a man who was actually there. Aldrin concludes with this wise advice: 'we all have our own moons to reach for. If you set your sights high, you may accomplish more than you ever dreamed was possible. Just as I did.'

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