Wednesday, May 23, 2012

His and Her Books (1961)

Just a quick fun set of books.  One style of children's book popular in the late 1950s was the "dress-up" book. A child would be shown in different costumes with a little text about what they were pretending to be,

These two 1961 books show some of the last gasps of dressing up like a "space hero" instead of an astronaut.  While charming they remind us how fast the trends changed when real space flight became possible. Space helmets and space guns became un-chic as silver suits and count-downs became the new style.

I don't want to leave the space women out either.  It is surprising that astronauts HAD to be men but space heroes could be anyone.  You saw a lot less female astronauts in the 1960s.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Science World ( Sept 27, 1963)

I just love these school newspapers.  They bring back the excitement of waiting for the future to happen. It seemed like there was so much cool stuff to look forward to.

It all seemed so "scientific"  (when did that become a guarantee that something WOULD happen?)  As we observed the Moon and tested its surface and photographed it, we were confident. Going to the Moon was both very hard to do but also we were picking out our camping spot, our next place to launch from.

There were dangers and challenges but we had lived off the land before and the Moon was the next frontier to conquer and settle.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Skylab: America's First Space Station (1974)

Despite my best intentions it has been a long time since my last post. So today it is another wonderful pop-up book from the 1970s.

Peterson, Gail Mahan. Iillustrations by Carl Cassler. Paper mechanics by Howard Lohnes. Skylab--America's First Space Station, A Hallmark Pop-Up Book.  Mo: Hallmark Children's Editions. (20p.) 17 x 24 cm.

Full of fascinating facts about Skylab, America's first space station, its mission and the dramatic problems the first astronaut team had to solve. Excellent movables: three large double-page pop-ups, six tab-mechanicals and threedouble-sided turn-wheels. “Hallmark Pop-Up Book series.”

As always it is hard to give the pop-ups justice, luckily most are "flatter" in this book.  I enjoy how the illustrations give the sense of floating in space in near-Earth orbit.

Also you get a good sense of what it was like to stand at Cape Kennedy and watch a launch.

To some people this space station seemed a disappointment for its size and uses, however for some of this seemed really cool. someone was living in orbit over our heads. The films of them bouncing around inside an empty rocket fuel tank made space travel seemer much more than just traveling in a closed space for days at a time. These astronauts got to move around and tumble and "fly" through the air.

 We needed an outpost in space then and I am glad they could shoehorn the Saturn boosters into doing such a neat set of test flights.