Sunday, October 23, 2005

Footprints in the moondust: Lesley Sims, Puzzle Journey into Space (London; Usborne Puzzles Ltd, 2003).

I think this book is probably designed for car journeys. Nat and Joe go on a school trip to the museum. The girl (Nat) is keen, but the boy (Joe) is not. Together they sneak onto a space ship and when Nat starts playing with the controls, they take off.. They go to the moon, and then to Mars. They meet aliens, and also a space man crashed on the moon many years ago and abandoned. They get home, they seem to have been away only twenty minutes [pause for blogger to gnash teeth].

The book is constructed around puzzles but every puzzle is cognitively the same (or similar): look at the picture for what is missing or important. Remember another picture because it tells you something. The biggest puzzle--how the spaceman spent 20 years on the moon--is never addressed.

I have very mixed feelings about this book: it is deathly dull, but that's the writing, not the story which has potential.I didn't like the "girl interested, boy not interested" beginning, it seemed unnecesary and off putting to male readers (later the boy gets enthusiastic too) and the samenesss of the puzzles made the book even duller, but it was trying very hard to get children to observe, and to work things out.


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