The Great Space Race is a fun and informative children’s book by Jeff Attinella, with illustrations by David Capalungan, which chronicles the space race between the U.S. and Russia to see who would be the first country to put a man on the moon. The story begins with Russia launching Sputnik One in 1957 and ends with the moon mission that landed Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin, and Neil Armstrong on the moon.
Attinella takes a very important and complex part of U.S. history and simplifies it into language a child can understand. As is crucially important in children’s books, there are some valuable life lessons that come through: competition is healthy, and there’s value in teamwork. Capalungan’s colorful illustrations are vividly portrayed, especially where it shows the rocket crashing, which sure to not only keep a child’s interest but also underscores the dangers involved. The use of realism in the illustrations gives the story a sense of needed gravitas.
This isn’t the first children’s book to tackle this subject, but the book handles the subject originally. There is some awkward phrasing in the book’s rhyming narrative, but all in all, The Great Space Race effectively and entertainingly teaches a child about an important aspect of the nation’s history.