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A Book That Puts the Moon Within Reach

Wednesday, July 15, 2009; C11

"It has a stark beauty all its own. It's like much of the high desert of the United States. It's different, but it's very pretty out here."

That's how Neil Armstrong, the first person to set foot on the moon, described what he saw. July 20 (next Monday) marks the 40th anniversary of the amazing journey of Apollo 11 to put men on the moon. This amazing book is as good a place as any to mark the historic occasion.

We know; you think, "Pop-up book? Those are for babies." But this is a pop-up book that no sticky-handed toddler should get near. No, kids, the family member you might have to fight with over who gets this book is more likely to be Mom or Dad. That's how cool it is.

Open the first page to see the re-creation of the fiery launch of the Redstone rocket that took astronaut Alan Shepard into space in 1961 for all of 15 minutes. As you turn the pages, a three-dimensional view of the moon pops out at you, showing the landing sites for all six Apollo missions that reached the moon.

Some of the best information in this book, however, appears flat on the page. A simple diagram and chart allows you to see the 10 stages (including blasting off, orbiting the moon, landing on the moon and heading home) that astronauts went through on each mission. There are also very neat "books within the book." These miniature guides are tucked into pockets and tell about the crews on all the Apollo missions and some of the scientists and inventors who made space exploration possible.

This book will help you understand the importance of the historic phrase "The Eagle has landed" -- if, of course, you can pry it out of your father's hands.

-- Tracy Grant

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