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Archive for November 21st, 2019

by Sam Juliano

On Star Trek it is referred to as “the final frontier” but humankind has barely scratched the surface in regard to space exploration, and only rarely has an American set foot on our lunar neighbor, the closest celestial sphere to our planet.  Still, it is not at all remotely difficult to envision a time in the not so distant future when Gene Roddenberry’s fantastical vision is no longer inconceivable, even if we are still a very long way from the context of the classic cartoon Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2 Century.  In a captivating wordless picture book titled Field Trip to the Moon by newcomer John Hare a class embarks on a routine venture that is no more startling in concept and execution than a trip to the Stature of Liberty or a science museum.  While destination and mode of transportation are incredulous the time spent on the moon suggest that the native inhabitants bear far more similarities to earthlings than our typical hostile stereotypes would pose.  At its most basic the wholly chimerical Field Trip to the Moon is a story of friendship in one of the last locations one would think it could surface.

The front dust jacket cover, one replicated on the inside hardcover, depicts a smaller-sized class leaving a space station to board a shuttle craft for their day trip to the moon.  One student, later identified as a girl lags behind seemingly mired in deep thought.  First time illustrator Hare negotiates acrylic paints to craft a rich outer space tapestry, with the yellow shuttle at the forefront of the black space, punctuated by the stars.  A “Slow- school zone” marker serves as an amusing retro to the time when such an expedition was unthinkable.  The cover is one of the most striking of any 2019 picture book.  After a dedication/copyright canvas denoting the shuttle approaching its lunar destination the class and its single chaperon gather in a  line to explore as the space craft anchors itself.  The teacher and the eleven students pass through a rocky hamlet, with the extra-inquisitive girl lagging somewhat behind to look at the surrounding more closely. (more…)

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