Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Moon-Watch Summer

Thinking of Neil Armstrong...

Lenore Blegvad
illustrated by Erik Blegvad 1972

We seem to like the books by Lenore Blegvad. This easy reader (with nice, unpretentious drawings) tells the story of a boy and his sister who are sent to live with their grandmother in the country for the summer. The grandmother's country house is a dream (at least to me!). It's surrounded by beautiful mountains, a big garden, a creek, and her old horse in the pasture. But it's the summer of 1969, Apollo 11, and all the boy, Adam, cares about is following the astronauts on the radio and watching the moon landing. He resents that his grandmother doesn't have a tv and her rural way of life. But within a few days, he learns to see the value of the country, the slower pace, and the natural world around him. When circumstances force him to care for his younger sister one night, he forms a tender bond with her and begins to understand the beauty in the way his grandmother lives.

That very morning the whole family had watched the televised beginning of another journey- one that Adam had waited a long, long time to see:  the roaring, fiery blast-off of the Apollo 11 spacecraft, on its way to land the first men on the moon.

Sometime later Adam turned off his radio, and the farmhouse was quiet.  Outside in the sloping fields crickets chirped.  He could hear frogs calling from the damp grasses along the edge of the brook below.  With the touch of cool air from the pine woods on his face, Adam lay under his quilt and thought about the astronauts.  Enclosed in their capsule, they were also at rest for the night, moving farther and farther away from him at every moment.

Also by Lenore Blegvad:

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