March 29, 2020

Review: Moon Landing: the 40th Anniversary Pop-Up!



Pop-up books are one of the great guilty pleasures of life. Designed for kids, it is often adults that can be found fascinated with them after bedtime. Nothing illustrates ideas and concepts better in a graphical format. And they’re just plain fun, to boot!

Think you know everything about the Apollo missions? Leave it to a simple pop-up book to teach us otherwise…. Just in time for the Apollo 11′s 40th anniversary landing this month, Moon Landing out from Candlewick press sports no less than six large format pop-up dioramas in a smart hard cover package. Authored by Richard Platt and illustrated David Hawcock, these cover the halcyon days starting through Mercury, continuing onward to Gemini and culminating with Apollo. I especially enjoyed looking at the inner workings, or “guts” of the spacecraft and spacesuits. Perhaps more detail can be gleaned this way than through a thousand History Channel re-runs. One of our favorites isn’t even the flashiest or largest; the demonstration of the extraction of the Lunar Module (LM) from the second stage.


This illustrates how the LM was packaged for extraction; most documentaries miss this, but Moon Landing illustrates this simply and wonderfully.

…and don’t miss those extra pull out booklets amid all of the pop-up glamor…exhaustive coverage of the crews and the dreamers and inventors that made Apollo possible are also included. This alone would ensure the Moon Landing pop-up book a place in collector-dom…

Probably our only nit to pick would be a tiny one… some of the dioramas, especially the lunar surface one at climax, are a little…well, delicate. This is unavoidable, but be forewarned before that over eager junior astronaut rips a leg off of the Lunar Module on deployment. Some adult supervision may be necessary…


Probably the most ambitious piece in the entire book is the pop-up globe of the Moon. This presents a great opportunity to brush up on some lunar geography, and I could easily see an ambitious model maker carefully removing this globe and permanently suspending it. All of the Apollo landing sites, as well as the lunar far-side, are depicted. Some cool highlights to point out could be; 1. Note that all five missions are clustered on the lunar equator on the nearside; we’ve still got a lot of Moon to explore! 2. Why are there almost no maria on the far-side? This is still a major point of controversy for scientists! 3. Is there any water at them ‘thar poles? That’s the big question for any possible future permanent lunar settlement…

In the end, we here at Astroguyz would heartily recommend the Moon Landing pop-up book to children (the book says ages 8 and up, but I would have dug this a 4!) collectors, educators, and guilty adults. I was busy growing a liver during the early Apollo missions, then graduated on to my own mission called potty training, but I vividly remember watching one of the early Skylab launches with my Mom one early morning in 1973… who knows? That junior astronaut eagerly putting these pop-ups together today might well be the first Moon Base Alpha commander tomorrow…



  1. Goncalo says:

    National Geographic channel is presenting special programming in celebration of the 40th Year of Moonlanding. The Secrets of the Moon Landings will reveal the deep secrets around the event that you never knew. You will witness the make or break moments that you never saw.

  2. Aron Ranen says:

    I made a film called DID WE GO?
    I was paid $65,000 from the State of Ohio to try and prove we really landed on the moon.

    I traveled all over OHIO trying to get Neil to talk…he will not talk to anyone.

    Here is link to my film on youtube. It opens with me on WLW-AM Radio in Ohio, trying to reach out to Neil

    please share this link

  3. webmaster says:

    Probably some of the most intriguing evidence that we went to the Moon came from the vantage point of our then arch rivals; the Soviets. From Earth orbit to the lunar surface, they tracked us nearly every step of the way (Luna 15 was even in lunar orbit at the time.) given the climate of the era, its hard to believe that the Soviets wouldn’t be the first to cry foul had we hoaxed the Moon landings.

  4. Louis says:

    I’ve always been fascinated by pop-up books.
    I’m in the process of designing a few myself.
    A lunar landscape is a great design.
    Thanks for posting.

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