Monday, March 30, 2009

Rocket to the Moon (1961)

Sort of a children's book and sort of something else...

The "Panorama" books were a series of books that had additional media attached. Included with this book were 2 cards containing 32 (6 x 14 mm) slides of the illustrations, (that worked only on a "Panorama" slide projector) and a 33 1/3 (20 min.)photograph record narrating the story. The narration for this particular book was by Walter Cronkite.

The book consisted of a short introduction to space flight and then 32 pages where each page describes a different stage of a trip to the moon represented by the illustration.

Bonestell, Chesley. Illustrated by Bonestell, Chesley. Rocket to the Moon. New York: Columbia Record Club Inc. (46 p.) 30 cm.

Chesley Bonestell was one of the foremost space artists of the 1950s and 1960s. His illustration are mazing and worth seeking this book out just for them. There was a 1968 edition of this book with some of the paintings in color.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Our Place in Space (1959)

This was a give-away comic from General Electric. It was part of the "Adventures in Science" series about science and how science is changing lives. It also directed children towards various careers in science.

It has a very dated flavor and is firmly set in 1959. It is items like this that really help me understand the changes in America because of Sputnik.

Americans like to think (especially in the 1950s) that only the Russians would use propaganda to manipulate their youth, here is an example of how we also tried to aim our own children at the stars.

For more information about these comics see:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Laurie's Space Annual (1953)

Many bits of interesting non-fiction about space flight appeared in British annuals for children. Along with the comic strips, activities, and short stories there were short non-fiction essays. The ones about space flight were often written by members of the British Interplanetary Society (BIS). Sometimes however it is just the art that attracted me. I really like another kind of vision of what a space station and passenger rockets could look like.

Laurie's Space Annual. London : Laurie. (96 p.) 26 cm. Illustrated Boards.

Non-fiction essays include 3 by R. F. Yates, "Adrift on the Sea of Space", "And So to the Moon", and "What Makes Rockets Rocket?" and an article about the British Interplanetary Society.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Looking Into Science (1965)

A 1965 science text book. It was both a textbook and a series of subject related booklets. This is another part of the space age that is forgotten. Space flight wasn't just popular, it was part of the curriculum! If you had science class during those years there was a good chance you had a science text like this to study.

This one, "Rockets" is an example of the approach. It mixed basic science concepts like thrust and "action and reaction" with pictures of space capsules and astronauts.

This particular textbook had 8 of these booklets. Science can be exciting but it was that much more immediate when every newspaper brought an update on how science was changing the world.

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Child's Book of Stars (1953)

No space flight in this one, just some great space art.

Barlowe, Sy. A Child's Book of Stars. New York : Maxton. (32 p.) 27 cm.

Sometimes the inspiration comes from a child seeing a place they want to go. Like a National Geographic article showing you someplace you never imagined. Space art in children's books gave children a new place to imagine. And best of all they were assured that this was a real place that they could go to some day. Science can be dressed up a little when presenting it to children and this book show some incredible places you could go.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Space Travel (1962)

SRA Pilot Library 2C, 1962, #39, Walter B. Hendrickson, Jr. Space Travel. Illus. by Stephen Perry.

Yes it is an SRA Reader! Back there in the days of where we walked to school both ways uphill through the asteroid showers we learned to read with SRA (Science Research Associates). These readers were extreme abridgments of books. I think the idea was interesting reading for the classroom but the real memory is being sent up to the box of readers and trying to pick something out.

The book itself focused on conditions found in space and how men would survive there.

Here to our memories of adventures in reading!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Space Stand-ups (1951?)

I know nothing about this item except it is exceptionally charming. It is only 4" x 4" with no publisher markings. I have seen several so it must have been a standard coloring book or give-away.

When space books started coming into "fashion" there were a lot of products that came and went with out much of a trace.

This was a coloring book/activity book. You were supposed to coloring each of the illustrations, cut them out, and fold them to make them stand up.

You can't really call these non-fiction (like most of my collection) but they do show how the visions of space suits, a space station, and a future trip to the moon started to become fixed in children's minds. This stands poised between Buck Rogers and Alan Sheppard as something fun to think about but not very likely.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Moon (1963)

Sorry for the little break but had a few deadlines to meet.

Rocca, Angelo. Illustrated by Fedini. The Moon. New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce. (58 p.) 32 cm.

This was orignally published in italian with spectacular space art by Fedini. There is alwasy a thrill in finding images such of these that are unknown to you. One of the reason I began looking inside children's book for space art was these hidden treasures.

While non-fiction in its approach giving history of the study of the Moon, the book takes off in showing possible moon exploration.

Here are those standard rockets reinterpreted through an artist's eye. There is no trace of the Mercury or Russian space programs. Just an optimism of how we were going to get to the moon.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What Does An Astronaut Do? (1961)

Sorry for the cut-off scan. This is part of the "What does a _____ do?" series. These were career books, mostly about jobs a kid could reasonably expect to grow up to be. But then there was this book. Children knew at the time that being an astronaut was going to be hard work. So this book was to satisfy the curiousity of what would/is it really like.

Evidently it was pretty cool! They used illustrations from those aerospace company and NASA proposals to show a job not as it was but as "it soon will be."

The space station is the same one as those Disney "Man in Space" movies (with the 3 radial arms that were only there to avoid conflict with the Colliers copyrighted illustrations).

When you found this book on the shelf along with: What does a plumber do? and What does a pilot do? You thought that life was going to be pretty neat right around 1977 when you graduate from high school.

So that is today's "dream of space"

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Boys' Book of Rockets (1947)

Yates, Raymond F. Illustrated by Yates, Raymond F. The Boy's Book of Rockets. New York: Harper and Brothers. (131 p.) 22 cm.

A primer on rocket theory as well as a history of rocket research up to the time. Written from the point of view that we will go into space soon and here are the problems that must be solved. Chapter 3 is entitled, "And So to the Moon" laying out exactly what can be expected. It has no "space art" but is interesting in being a children's book that presents a realistic view of space travel.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Let's Go to the Moon (1965)

Michael Chester wrote a number of children's space books in the late 50s and early 60s. He specialized in giving simple explanations of complex science topics.

Chester, Michael. Illustrated by Micale, Albert. Let's Go to the Moon. New York: GP Putnam's Sons. (46 p.) 21 cm.

This book is somewhere in the middle of our plans for landing on the moon. The designs of the moon vehicles are more 1962 than 1969 but there is a confidence in the text that the landing will be inevitable.

Still the image of men leaving the Earth is a strong one. It seemed at the time like people were attempting the impossible to reach so high.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Complete How-to Book of Space (1953)

Discount, William Alan. Illustrated by Cole, L. B. The Complete How-to Book of Space: Rockets, Interplanetary Travel, Spaceships, Jets, Guided Missiles. New York: How-to Books. (96 p.) 24 cm.

Published in the UK as: The Complete Book of Space: Rockets, Interplanetary Travel, Spaceships, Jets, Guided Missiles.

This is another of those space items that is a little hard to describe. It is a play activity book with short factual essays, games, picture puzzles, quizzes and mazes. It has lots of drawings of rockets, space stations, space suits, a Moon landing and planetary surfaces.

Admittedly an unusual selection, it is a great early juvenile space book.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

ABCs of Aerospace (1971)

I have a smaller amount of materials from the 1970s. When I started collecting it seemed to me there was a lull in books between the burst that started in 1951 that ended with the last moon landing and the coming of the space shuttle. So although I have post-1975 children's space books I never put the same effort into collecting them.

Yerian, Cameron and Yerian, Margaret. Illustrated by Jim Gindraux. ABC's of Aerospace. Los Angeles : Elk Grove Press. (57 p.) 24 cm. Illustrated Cloth.

This book came out at the end of the first space race and shows it. What is most interesting here is the looking back on the NASA efforts.

The book shows the moon landing and other space words with a very simple hand-drawn approach. This was not a best seller but rather something you would hope a school or public library would pick up because space books were so popular.

It also was probably cheaper to produce without photographs (which probably all the competition had).

Yesterday's book was from the beginning of our dream to go to the moon. This book reflects the problem of what was next for NASA. The NASA budgets had been declining since 1965 and no one was sure what was next beyond a shuttle of some sort.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Rockets, Jets, Guided Missiles and Space Ships (1951)

This is it my space minded friends, the number 1 children's space book. That is to say most people agree that this was the one that started the 1950s publication of children's space flight books. At least it was the first non-fiction book written for children about manned space flight.

Lot of things special about this book but chiefly it was the artist Jack Coggins. He created a set of space paintings that make you feel like he was the eyewitness for some space age that we never saw.

I should let the pictures speak for themselves but I need to add this book is cheap! You can find copies in reasonable condition for under $10. It was reprinted in the UK in 1953 so my readers from Project Sword Toys should look for a local copy in EBay UK or their local used bookstore.

Coggins, Jack and Pratt, Fletcher. Illustrated by Coggins, Jack. Rockets, Jets, Guided Missiles, and Space Ships. New York: Random House. (64 p.) 29 cm.

There was a sequel in 1952 called By Spaceship to the Moon, also reprinted in the UK in 1952.

With an introduction by Willy Ley, the book lays out the history and principles of rockets, focusing on their use in World War II. It then discusses the American experiments since the war, how rockets are a reality, and describes how a trip to the Moon might take place. Wonderful paintings of rockets, astronauts, space stations and a lunar lander, all in an industrial "forged metal" style.