Field Trip to the Moon by John Hare

 Field Trip to the Moon by John Hare, Holiday House, 9780823442539, 2019.

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Genre: Fiction (wordless)

What did you like about the book? Students board their rocket bus from their space station headed on a field trip to the moon. In this wordless picture book, O’Hare takes us on a whimsical journey with a class exploring gleefully in their spacesuits. One child takes time to sit and draw while the others play around. As she takes in the beauty of the marvel of Earth seen in the vast distance, she dozes off and is forgotten as the rocket bus departs. Immediately, the moon’s inhabitants are drawn to the beacon of her yellow crayon box and begin to shyly surface to greet her. Amazed by what the crayons can create, they join in the artistic fun, drawing on each other and creating graffiti on the surrounding moon rocks. Thankfully the rocket bus returns to rescue the girl, and her relief is palpable. Once the teacher sees the graffiti, the student is scolded and required to clean up the mess that it’s believed she made. Meanwhile, the inhabitants are buried safely in the moondust, raising their hands holding crayons in salute to the child. Clearly, illustrations are important in a wordless picture book as they drive the story for better or worse. In this case, O’Hare hits a home run.  The predictable and calming grays and blacks are accentuated nicely by the yellow rocket bus and the box of crayons and its creations. The characters’ actions are drawn explicitly and drive the plot. Even though students and teachers are clothed in spacesuits, the nonverbal body language is nuanced and full of emotion and expression.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No, however, I do wonder about the message sent when the adult scolds the child for the actions of the moon inhabitants. I think it is important to discuss with children that they will be believed, even in extraordinary circumstances, and they should speak up when they feel wronged.

To whom would you recommend this book? This book is great for fans of the Magic School Bus and anyone who enjoys wordless picture books in particular.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries and elementary libraries.

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? If you wish to add an adventure story and grow your wordless picturebook collection.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State:
Linda Broderick, Lincoln Street Elementary School, Northboro, MA

Date of review: 6/18/19

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