‘The moon walk anniversary is upon us and this picture book is a fantastic factual resource for all the family to learn more about the lead up to the ground-breaking journey by Buzz Aldrin & Neil Armstrong. With wonderful timelines and text by Alison Donald and informative pages highlighted in a clear and fun way by illustrator Ariel Landy, The Spacesuit is a must-needed addition to any library, school or home.’
‘It rightly places them and the importance of their contribution right up there with the rest of the team, and does so in a way that I think empowers girls and women. The story is told in a humorous but very informative way, and one that both of the kids found very engaging. We all loved how on nearly every page, there was a little FACT box, containing lots of really interesting bits of trivia.
We thought the illustrations, by Ariel Landy, in the book were gorgeous and the really added to the story – they are as much a part of the story as the words, and I thought they helped the kids to appreciate just how much work and design go into creating things like this.
My eldest particularly likes snippets of information, so loved reading these and all of the facts throughout the book, and has been reciting them to be for the past few days!
This is a brilliant book, and one the bridges the gap between fiction and non-fiction really well. We all loved it and I have no doubt that it will be read again and again.’
‘I love that the story starts with Ellie as a little girl learning to sew, making it relatable for children who have dreams and passions of their own. I also really like that there are facts dotted through the story and also at the beginning and end of the book, grounding the story in reality. It’s an aspect of the space race that I had never even considered before and learning about the work that went into designing the spacesuits was really interesting.
I also really like the illustrations, which capture the sixties style brilliantly and – forgive the pun – weave together aspects of tailoring and engineering beautifully. I love the facial expressions on the characters too – Ellie’s expression exudes warmth and really draws you to her, and I loved the slightly cross-eyed astronaut after testing out a rival suit!!
I’d really recommend this book for older preschoolers and younger school-age children who have an interest in space, a creative streak or even just a particular passion that they dream of pursuing as they grow up. It’s a really inspiring story of how small dreams can grow in unexpected ways, and how you can be part of something much bigger than yourself with hard work and determination.’
Thanks, Bec – another thoughtful review!
‘While we love Maverick Books already, this has to be our favourite so far, maybe because it is based on a true story. Children learn about space and moon landings at school but this book gives a small insight into the people behind the scenes with Eleanor Foraker and her team of seamstresses and engineers that created the spacesuit.
A great story that will educate and hopefully inspire girls to get interested in space (and not just the sewing side). It gives another dimension to the space stories we are used to hearing, and true!’
‘It didn’t just take rocket science to put man on the Moon… there was also a team of talented, tireless seamstresses!
Author Alison Donald and illustrator Ariel Landy have the history of the spacesuit all sewn up in an enchanting picture book which celebrates the real-life people who won a race against time to develop the special astronaut clothing used in the first Moon walk 50 years ago.
Dedicated to the women and men who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make the Moon landings possible, The Spacesuit focuses on the team of seamstresses, led by the very talented Eleanor ‘Ellie’ Foraker, who won a competition to make a suit for the Apollo 11 astronauts.
Landy’s bold, colourful illustrations are full of intriguing, small detail, and Donald’s story features lots of fascinating, accessible facts as the excitement of the race to make a spacesuit mounts, and the sheer determination of Ellie and her team to achieve their own seeming mission impossible shines through.
An inspirational true story about the remarkable women who helped to make a space dream come true…‘
Thanks, Pam! Read the full review here
Buy a copy here
‘What a wonderful, timely book The Spacesuit is. It might be designed for children but it brought back so many memories from 50 years ago for me and introduced me to a whole new aspect of the moon landings I’d never considered before. Just who made those first spacesuits? Indeed, entertainment and nostalgia aside, there’s a vitally important message here. We know so much about the first man on the moon, but what about the women behind that achievement? Based on real people, in The Spacesuit we discover Eleanor ‘Ellie’ Foraker who was instrumental in creating the spacesuits used. The Spacesuit gives credence and status to all in a message so important to children. Similarly, I thoroughly appreciated the inclusion of those of different ethnicities in Ariel Landy’s colourful and enhancing illustrations.
There’s so much to discover in The Spacesuit as facts and figures adorn every part of the book, from the inside covers, and across the title pages to throughout the story so whilst it’s possible simply to read the book as an entertainment, with jeopardy making it exciting, so much can be learnt too. I had no idea that 21 layers were used in those first spacesuits, for example.
Facts aside, there are wonderful messages about perseverance, team work, doing your best and being proud of your achievements. Ellie’s childhood hobby becomes a career and ultimately a world changing skill so that children can see that their aspirations can be fulfilled regardless of their background. What could be better than that?
The Spacesuit offers something different every time it’s read. It has the potential for so many uses with children that I can see it forming the basis of home and school projects. How about researching those constellation patterns perhaps or playing with onomatopoeic language in the whir of the machines and where exactly is Texas on the map? There really is a wealth of material (forgive the pun) to be enjoyed here.
Finally, I love the fact that the book brings us right up to date with a code to scan for more information. The Spacesuit is a smashing book for children – of all ages!’
Thank you, Linda! Read the whole review here
‘Over the last week many of us have been enthralled to watch the first moon landing in 1969 relived on our televisions screens for its 50th anniversary; but how many of us thought about what went into the designing and making of the protective spacesuits worn by the three Apollo astronauts, and in particular, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin when they walked on the moon.
Alison Donald’s straightforward, accessible narrative focuses on Ellie Foraker’s skills and her determination to win the NASA competition, making it one of a very few moon-related books I’ve seen this past few months that has chosen to put the spotlight on women and their role in helping to send men to the moon.
Ariel Landy’s digitally worked illustrations too capture the resolve of Ellie and her team throughout the task, showing the tension when things get tough as well as the times when the mood was upbeat.
Along with the facts included in the story itself, the inside covers have short snippets of space travel information and there’s a glossary and a space time line extending from 1957 and the launch of the 1st Russian satellite, through to the 1969 moon walk.
All in all an inspiring picture book for young readers.’
US book review site Randomly Reading has published a cracking review just in time for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing on the 20th July for The Spacesuit by Alison Donald with illustrations by Ariel Landy:
‘The Spacesuit offers young readers an accessible, friendly, and interesting look at one of the things that happens behind the headlines of a historical event, and also manages to put a woman in the spotlight for a change. The simple text and cartoon-like illustrations are clear and straightforward. All the steps that were taken to create the winning spacesuit are nicely detailed from idea to finished suit.
The Spacesuit is a great book with lots of interesting facts to be found scattered within the story, as well as the front and back endpapers. There is also a timeline of space travel from its beginning right up to the moon walk, and a glossary of terms used at the end of the book.
The Spacesuit is an inspiring book for young readers which adds to the body of literature about the Apollo 11 moon walk as well as adding to the history of women.‘
Prestigious American Library Association review site Booklist Online has posted a wonderful review for The Spacesuit by Alison Donald with illustrations by Ariel Landy ahead of the 50th anniversary of the first moon walk on the 20th July:
‘The writing is as straightforward as the colorful, digital illustrations. … a good, simple story that many children will enjoy, and one of the few Apollo 11–related picture books to feature women.’
‘Ever since I heard about this book, I had been desperate to read it. It’s based on the true story of seamstress, Eleanor Foraker, who worked sewing bras and nappies for Playtex before being approached to precision stitch a spacesuit which could go to the moon! Take a peek into a little-known part of the space race story.
Told in picture book format with brilliant full page illustrations, we follow Ellie from childhood sewer, to creator of spacesuits. It takes the reader through the design process and the decision to make it of many soft layers and joint it like an onion to ensure flexibility, through the trial of needing special sewing machines to get through the 21 layers of material used and through the nail-biting judging process. It truly was a feat of engineering and teamwork.
Take note – there’s a handy QR code at the back which can be scanned for further information.’