Monday, August 12, 2013

The Sea of Tranquility by Mark Haddon and Christian Birmingham (HarperCollins Children's Books) #ReadItMD13

With our #ReadItMD13 Theme Week in mind, stretching our hands up to space it's time to dive into a very special book.

Mark Haddon, local author and the genius behind "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" has turned his hand to children's books for a look back at that heady summer of 1969 and the first man on the moon.

I was a 1 year old baby, so I was more concerned with how many Farley's Rusks I could cram into my maw but the author writes a story that sounds semi-autobiographical of the time as a young schoolboy avidly follows the Apollo 11 moon mission, watching as the first flickering black and white images come back from the moon.

Mark's prose is beautiful, the sort of book that not only educates children about the moon landings but lets their imaginations fly right up to the stars. The young boy dreams vivid dreams about joining the astronauts on the moon, setting up the flag to mark mankind's giant leap to its nearest neighbour, and bouncing around in zero gravity.

Like most space books it feels like it's tinged with sadness, perhaps the author intended this because the one question Charlotte asked is the one question a lot of children (and adults) are probably asking. Why aren't we going back? Will I ever be able to stand on the moon? Tough one to answer.

Worth noting that along with Mark Haddon's beautiful descriptive and dream-like text, Christian Birmingham's utterly wonderful illustrations make this book stand out.

Charlotte's best bit: The boy in his mini space suit bouncing and playing on the moon.

Daddy's favourite bit: A lushly described homage to the moon landings, visually rich and a real joy to read.


Beatnik Mary said...

I think Mark Haddon used to write children's fiction before hitting it big with Curious Incident. I remember "Boom! Or 70,000 Light Years" which was a fun, space-themed fantasy book for kids aged 7-12.

ReadItDaddy said...

I think you're right, I seem to remember in an interview he was talking about the challenges of writing for children vs adults. Love his books, text is so descriptive and dreamy. Will check out "Boom!" though, sounds like it'd be a good fit for this week's theme :)