Thursday, April 30, 2009

You and Space Travel (1951)

Lewellen, John. Illustrated by Fitch, Winnie and Phelan, Joe. You and Space Travel. Chicago: Children's Press. Inc. (60 p.) 24 cm.

Reprinted numerous times this is one of the first children's books about the possibility of space travel. It has illustrations primarily of rockets and how they work. There are several spacesuit illustrations as well as a landing on the Moon. Look for the 1958 reprint.

It is amazing how much the image of space changed in 7 years.

Here are a few of the illustrations:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Your Place in America's Space Program (1964)

One of my favorite memories of growing up with these books in the 1960s was how they seem to be addressed to me. YOU will go to the moon. YOUR place in the.... I CAN ....
As part of the space race there was a perception that this was going to be the NEXT thing and we needed to train a workforce to fill all those upcoming space jobs. There were a number of books in the early to mid-60s explaining exactly what courses you need and what you might do. Some of this was to take that excitement over America's Astronauts and gently point out that not everyone would go into space, but we could all help.
Lent, Henry B. Your Place in America's Space Program. New York: Macmillan Co. (xii, 209 p.) 21 cm.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Moon Base (1959)

Nephew and Chester wrote a quartet of space books for kinds in the late 1950s and early 1970s. I will highlight the others in later posts. Today it is MOON BASE #2 out of the 4 books.

Nephew, William and Chester, Michael. Illustrated by Buehr, Walter. Moon Base. New York : GP Putnam's Sons. (72 p.) 23 cm.

Building on the 1st book (Moon Trip -1958) this one discusses a permanent settlement on the Moon. It has many full page and double-page illustrations of rockets, Moon vehicles, and a Moon base.

It is fun to see a very different style of illustration. Chester and Nephew came out of the aerospace industry so their approach to the subject is much more engineering based. They have a concept and specifications they wanted to share and they use a lightly wrapped story to convey it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Arrow at America's Spaceport (1966)

This is one of my favorite odd books.
Written by Pat Scarboro.
Arrow at America's Spaceport: The Children's Book on Space. Cape Canaveral, FL: Pat Scarboro. (96 p.) 28 cm. Softcover.

It is illustrated with many photographs which depicts Arrow, a palomino quarter horse, interspersed with pictures of the astronauts and the Kennedy space center equipment. Produced in the Cape Canaveral area it shows the horse giving us a spoken guided tour of various aspects of space flight. It was probably developed as a souvenir of the area. "
It was a"Golden Arrow Educational Books for Children" book but I haven't looked to see if there were others.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Astronomy Funbook (1955)

I love this workbook/playbook. Several of them were produced by the same publisher recycling pages and illustrations between 1953 and 1961.

These were the equivalent of the the British Annuals with stories, puzzles, and games.

I like how the illustration are simple line drawings of sophisticated concepts. Although that moonship is going to have a problem taking off again. It looks like the artist didn't actually see how that ship was supposed to land and had to guess.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Rocket Propulsion (1963)

"An illustrated introduction to an increasingly important branch of science"

Even the most boring title can have amazing illustrations inside. Since the space race included educating children about space, books included rocket pictures to make the scientific principles interesting.

Theory of rockets, how they build rockets and the potential of nuclear rockets are all here.

Briscoe, Mervyn and Gerard Gibbons. Rocket Propulsion. London: Chatto and Windus. (63 p.) 21 cm

This one is an example of a book that was forgotten quickly as science advanced and it became obsolete.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Outer Space (1953)

This is a promotional pamphlet from Atlantic Richfield. I assume these were given out at the station when you filled up.

One of my favorite early space books it is a great example of the non-fiction propaganda that was produced for children.

It is also fun to see how early the space shuttle concepts from Von Braun have been included into the visions of the future for children.

This illustration of a space shuttle re-entering the atmosphere still looks timely today .

I also like the cut-away of the space station and the guy on the "space jeep" outside the station. I am sure for the adults at the time this was just more "far out" space stuff to go with the other TV space shows. Little did they know their kids were thinking about a brand new world.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Project Apollo (1965)

"It is no longer a dream. In the near future three men will blast off on man's greatest adventure in space..."

Coombs, Charles. Project Apollo: Mission to the Moon. New York: William Morrow and Co. (96 p.) 22 cm. Cloth, DJ. / New York: Scholastic Book Services. (75 p.) 20 cm. Softcover.

The softcover version of this book (from the Arrow Book Club) was one of my favorite books when I was 7 years old.

It was so cool to have this plan laid out so clearly. Plus it was illustrated with these black and white illustrations that looked almost like photographs (NASA Contractor paintings).

This was future that I was expecting to see. In fact the actual moon landing seemed predictable since i Had seem it illustrated and explained so many times.

On the other hand this illustration is so noble in composition that you can't help feel proud that we were trying to do something so difficult.

Here are the front and back covers of the soft cover. I love the quote on the back cover: "It is no longer a dream. In the near future three men will blast off on man's greatest adventure in space..."

Monday, April 6, 2009

Space Ship to the Moon (1952)

Mostly my collection is non-fiction but there have to be exceptions to everything. This is a wonderful children's book about taking a trip to the moon.

Reichert, E.C.. Illustrated by Bilder, A.K. Space Ship to the Moon. Chicago: Rand McNally and Co. (27 pp.) 20 cm.

But while fictional there is a lot of scientific fact in the book. My favorite illustration from the book is this one, where the books they take to the moon include a book on orbital mechanics!

I also like how the art reminds of of a "Dick and Jane" book with everyday children having an adventure.

The other illustrations I like include exploring the moon and walking to the "moon dome. An inexpensive visual treat and worth seeking out.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Gemini and Apollo (1964)

Kind of a rough cover on this one but worth seeking out. One of the things I have noticed about these books, many of the extant copies available are ex-library. This is good for me since they are worthless in the book world and sell for only a couple of dollars. The downside is of course the condition is somewhat to very used.

As a collector you are always urged to buy the best copy possible but since this is a collection for interest and content rather than value I often have settled for just getting a copy of something rather than seeking out the best.

Soule, Gardner. Gemini and Apollo. New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce. (64 p.) 24 cm.

Sub-titled "The next two projects in space" it presents all those conceptual drawings and paintings NASA had been using for a juvenile audience.

Things changed so fast in the next few years it is interesting to see how they thought it would look and what might happen soon.

This mostly looks like the future that did happen although the lunar module did end up looking a little different.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Flights into the future (1952)

Flights into the Future! How can you get a much more exciting title than that?

Flights into the future, A M Low; Jules Verne; Harry Harper; Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir. 125 p. illus., (part col.) 28 cm. London, Thames Pub. Co.

This is primarily a science fiction anthology in the form of a children's annual. What is of interest are the very nice color plates featuring future space travel and lots of great b/w illustrations.

Stories include: "From Earth to the Moon and a Trip Round it" by Jules Verne, and "Jungle of the Air" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The illustration show here look like the early BIS (British Interplanetary Society) plans for a moonlander. It some ways this was the vision of space for British children, that explorers like those who had conquered the Antarctic or Everest, will be the first to conquer the moon. The man on the cover gazing into the "future" is a prime example. I am also very fond of the volcanic crater in the lower illustration for how out of place because we know now what it "really" looks like.