Book Review: Team Moon

Team Moon by Catherine ThimmeshThe Moon has always held a fascinating role in our existence. Visiting it was surely the most amazing feat we’ve done. Catherine Thimmesh’s book Team Moon relives the days of Apollo when NASA first reached the Moon. She emphasizes the vast number of everyday people who helped Apollo and gives notice that an equally large and varied workforce will be necessary for the success of future manned missions to other planets.

The book’s subtitle gives an indication of the effort expanded for Apollo. It is “How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon”. To depict their contributions, Thimmesh focusses on a few exciting moments during the Apollo 11 mission. Pictures are her main tool for relaying the information. Large format colour images are splashed across a page’s background or smaller sharp images dot the foreground. Carefully placed about these are brief narratives that bring back the excitement and suspense of humankind’s first landing on the Moon. Thimmesh has chosen interesting and often overlooked perspectives: satellite dish operators, seamstresses, and design engineers. Thus, she imparts to readers, especially the young, that they can make valuable contributions without being an astronaut.

This book is classified as juvenile literature and admirably meets the billing. It’s in a large format, close to a coffee table book size. This makes it easy to show the illustrations to large groups. A satisfying black, matte finish gives the illusion of being in the emptiness of space. The narrative leans more to sensationalising, likely to capture and hold a youngster’s usually too short attention span. At the end of the book are many quotes of participants in Apollo, together with their pictures. These further emphasize the ‘normalness’ of the participants. As such, this book will go far in convincing the young amongst us that we have already gone to the Moon and it was the average person rather than the super-hero who made it happen. In consequence, the young reader with being read the contents or doing their own reading can happily dream of aiding today’s upcoming Moon challenge.

Using pictures more than words, Catherine Thimmesh returns readers to the heady days when humankind looked to a future amongst the stars. Her book Team Moon depicts the hazards of the endeavour and the desires of participants of this grand adventure. Let’s hope it’s just a taste of things to come.

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