Review of Tee Time on the Moon: How Astronaut Alan Shepard Played Lunar Golf

Tee Time on the Moon: How Astronaut Alan Shepard Played Lunar Golf Tee Time on the Moon: How Astronaut Alan Shepard Played Lunar Golf
by David A. Kelly; illus. by Edwin Fotheringham
Primary    Calkins/Astra    40 pp.
7/23    9781662680175    $18.99
e-book ed.  9781662680182    $11.99

Although the book offers a factual recounting of the Apollo 14 moon landing, its true focus is astronaut Alan Shepard Jr.’s personal experiment to find out how far a golf ball can travel on the low-gravity, atmosphere-less surface of the moon. The book starts with a wink as Shepard surreptitiously sneaks a sockful of golf balls into the pocket of his space suit, then goes on to describe the spaceship’s aim and the experiments that were planned for the third crewed moon-mission. And then comes the moment when, on live television, Shepard unexpectedly twists a metal golf club head onto the end of his rock scoop, pulls out several golf balls, and takes a few swings. Kelly’s well-researched retelling of this unusual story also does a little fact-checking on Shepard, who didn’t hit the ball quite as far as he believed—but nevertheless became the “first human to play a sport on the Moon.” Fotheringham’s (illustrator of Most Wanted, rev. 5/20) digital art uses a limited color palette that gives the story a vintage feel. Extensive back matter includes an overview of all the Apollo missions, additional information on Shepard and his golf experiment, and a bibliography.

From the July/August 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Laura Koenig

Laura Koenig is the Team Leader for Central Library Children's Services at the Boston Public Library.

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