Moonbound: Apollo 11 and the Dream of Spaceflight

Published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, Moonbound is a masterful celebration of that achievement. Yet the book does a great deal more. With Apollo 11 as the focal point, Moonbound relates the interconnected events throughout world history that culminated in Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins arriving at the moon, and also reflects upon the significance space travel might have for the future of humanity.

In alternating chapters, Fetter-Vorm moves between scenes of Apollo 11’s progress and moments in history which were necessary precursors to man’s attempt to land humans on the moon. Readers are reminded that without the discoveries of Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo, or the WWII and Cold War era scientists, the Apollo missions could never have occurred. Fascinating details about early rocket scientists and the astronaut training program are brought to life. Readers learn about interesting individuals working in the background who never received the accolades of astronauts like Neil Armstong or John Glenn, and some who have only more recently been recognized like Margaret Hamilton and Katherine Johnson.

An extensive epilogue comments on the fifty years since Apollo 11, including the fact that many people were disillusioned by the moon landings. The book speculates on the potential future for space travel. Key figures in the private sector including Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are mentioned, as well as NASA’s future plans for manned space missions and the efforts of other nations.

The art alternates between full-color in the chapters about Apollo 11 and various monochrome shades in the chapters about the history leading up to the mission. This distinction helps readers follow the timeline and maintains a connection to Apollo 11 as the focal point of the narrative. People are drawn with somewhat square features, but are realistic and recognizable. Most pages feature square or rectangular panels in fairly standard configurations, with some variation. There is one full-bleed two-page spread featuring the launch of the Saturn V taking the Apollo 11 mission into space.

Moonbound is an excellent reflection on a pivotal moment in the history of space exploration and an informative look at all it took to get there. The book is an equally fascinating read for both students and adults and is appropriate for older elementary readers and above. It will be a great addition to all collections.

Moonbound: Apollo 11 and the Dream of Spaceflight
By Jonathan Fetter-Vorm
Art by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm
ISBN: 9780374537913
Hill and Wang, 2019
NFNT Age Recommendation: Tween (10-13), Teen (13-16), Older Teen (16-18), Adult (18+)