Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Papa Put a Man on the Moon by Kristy Dempsey, Sarah Green

Rating: WORTHY!

This was a charming book for kids that runs along the lines of 'every little helps'. Papa had nothing to do with the Moonshot or with landing anyone anywhere, except in that he worked at a clothing factory and it happened to be one that produced a part of the lining for the Apollo space suit, so in the end, something he had touched in the course of his work went to the Moon and helped keep the astronauts safe while on the surface.

Sadly the book doesn't touch on the complexity of the Apollo Moon suit - or extra vehicular mobility unit in such typically tedious governmental jargon labeling that it was known as the EMU. Seriously. The suit was so complex that it took three years to design it and then another several years of modifications to reach the suit that was worn for the later Apollo missions. The one worn to the Moon debuted in early 1969 with Apollo nine. They were produced by ILC Dover which believe it or not was a subsidiary of Playtex, of bra fame, back then. The total weight of the suit all told was 200 pounds, but out in space and in the Moon's low gravity, it wasn't that much to carry.

The suit consisted of thirteen layers of materials designed to insulate, protect, and prevent air escaping, including rubber coated nylon, aluminized Mylar, Dacron, Kapton film, and Teflon-coated 'Beta filament cloth' to provide protection from fire after the horrible Apollo One fire in 1967. Naturally a children's book isn't the place to go into all that technical detail, but a word or two about the complexity would have been a good move. That aside, I liked this book for the unusual approach it took and for encouraging children to believe they can make a difference no matter what they feel is their lot in life.