Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Winter Reading 2019 The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon: The True Story of Alan Bean

The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon: The True Story of Alan Bean by [Robbins, Dean]

Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon missions, Dean Robbins has created a picture book about astronaut Alan Bean. Bean was part of the Apollo 12 mission and the fourth man to walk on the moon. Working with Bean, author Dean Robbins tells of the astronaut's childhood model airplanes, his time as a Navy pilot, and his trip to the moon.

The pages are filled with color. The green, red, and yellow on those models hanging in that boyhood bedroom; the white, green, and blue seen from a cockpit; and the stark colors of space. The text explains how Bean tried to explain the beauty he had observed in space and how far short his words and photographs fell. That is when he fell back on his painting skills to truly capture his experience.

Sean Rubin's illustrations include several images of Bean's paintings. Some are on the pages describing how he created the paintings of the moon landing, and others are on the pages about the museum exhibition of Bean's work.

As Robbins explains in the author's note, "Science had sent people to the Moon, but Alan knew that art could express how it felt to be up there." A photo of Bean at his easel is included with the note, as well as a comparison of several of his photos and the paintings he made based on those pictures. Back matter also include a timeline from the launch of Sputnik 1 up through Messenger's voyage to Mercury in 2011,  along with a few photos from various missions during those years.

This would be a great addition to any collection on the space program or picture book biographies in general. It is also portrays a melding of art and science that any STEAM program could use to illustrate how each way of looking at the world supports the other.

I read an ARC supplied by the publisher for review purposes.

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