Journey to the Moon is a non-fiction wordless book from the 1960s that first appeared in Germany under the title Hier Apollo 11. This American edition, from Delacorte Press, is a Seymour Lawrence Book.
A series of wordless spreads illustrates 12 stages in the US Apollo 11 space mission to land on the moon. It begins with the rocket launch at Cape Kennedy on 16 July 1969 and ends with the splash down of the capsule in the Pacific Ocean on 24 July. The book was published later the same year.
The stages are described briefly on an opening spread, marked by small black-and-white thumbnail sketches. These mini illustrations help explain the 12 wordless colour pictures that form the main body of the book.
The pictures were created by German artist and illustrator Erich Fuchs (1916-90). He depicts the man-made elements of the buildings and rocket in strong geometric forms, while showing the natural landscapes of both earth and moon in a softer, less sharp-edged, style.
People are shown super-tiny and mainly in outline, as are the cars, trains and boats. Backgrounds are often strikingly vivid, such as the vibrant orange of the first image.
There are also touches of gentle humour. For instance, in one picture all the spectators are waving white flags in unison. In another, the three astronauts – Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin and Michael Collins – wave back to earth from inside their rocket capsule.
These endearingly personal elements add an extra level of humanity to the story and make one of the most impressive technical scientific endeavours yet achieved by humankind more exciting and accessible to children.