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The Picture Book Buzz

Field Trip to the Moon - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

This year is the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. And as you can imagine, there are a ton of books being released about the moon or featuring the moon.

I found a real treasure for this week's #PPBF pick. It is different from all the ones I've seen so far, as it is entirely wordless. It's also John Hare's picture book debut.

Field Trip to the Moon

Author/Illustrator: John Hare

Publisher: Holiday House (2019)

Ages: 4-8



The moon, adventure, creativity, humor, and friendship.


It's field trip day, and students are excited to travel on their yellow spaceship bus from their space station to the moon. Climb aboard the spaceship bus for a fantastic field trip adventure to the moon. Once they land, students debark and set out with their teacher to explore. They jump over trenches and see craters and mountains on the moon's surface and even Earth in the faraway distance. One student takes a break to draw some pictures, falls asleep, and wakes up to discover that the rest of the class and the spaceship are gone. How the student passes the time waiting to be rescued makes for a funny and unexpected adventure that will enchant children all over the galaxy. With rich atmospheric art, John Hare's wordless picture book invites children to imagine themselves in the story--a story full of surprises including some friendly space creatures. Published in time for the fiftieth anniversary of the first moon walk, it is a perfect complement to discussions and lessons on the moon landing.

Opening "Lines" [description of image]:

[Departing the space station, a class heads into a yellow & black school bus shaped shuttle.]

[Shuttle leaves the space station and lands on the moon.]

[Eleven students and their teacher exit their bus shuttle, in matching space suits. One child has a pad and a yellow box of crayons.]

What I Love about this book:

As a matter of craft, it is interesting and fun to see how this book uses every inch of space. The story begins on the cover - showing the class loading the "school rocket bus."

© John Hare, 2019.

Then continues across the title page, as the "bus" leaves the space station, through the credit pages, as they fly towards the moon, and onto pages four and five when they land and the story "begins."

© John Hare, 2019.

In the opening spreads, we watch the MC dawdle behind the class, carrying a notepad and a box of crayons. With his intricate, spare images, John takes the reader on an amazing visual experience of the moon, its craters and crevasses, and earth hovering on the horizon. I love how he is able to convey emotion (excitement, nervousness, fear, isolation, etc. ) and adventure without any facial cues.

When the MC sits to draw the earth, the class continues to explore and play. Waking from a nap, the MC discovers only footprints. As s/he races back to the landing site, the "bus" blasts off, showing every teacher's nightmare - a student left behind on a field trip.

© John Hare, 2019.

With wonderful creativity and humor, John explores what might happen when a child, left on the moon, waits for the teacher's return. With a lot of visual variety and great spreads, John takes kids on an adventure that could happen in their own lives. Not necessarily on the moon, but as they deal with their own fears of the new, different, or unknown. The depiction of the child in a helmeted space suit, allows the reader to place themselves in the story.

This book is a fun addition to a unit on the moon and the moon landing. Containing many visual STEM elements, including the moon's shades of grey and the deep, black sky. Additionally, it is a good book for discussing friendship and what to do when lost on a trip (if safe, stay where you are). Kids will enjoy spotting, and pointing out, all the things the teacher misses. Overall a wonderful book.


- read Life on Mars by John Agee (#PPBF post). How is it the same and different from this book?

- draw your own picture of what you think someone who lives on the moon looks like;

- watch NASA's video of a trip to the moon (+Educator's Guide)

- make your own moon ( and moon residents (use modeling clay to create your moon inhabitant(s) ).

If you missed John Hare's interview last Monday, read it here.

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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