Field Trip to the Moon by John Hare

Field Trip to the Moon by John Hare
Review Copy from Holiday House
Hare's Field Trip to the Moon is a fantastic wordless picture book that is filled with wonderful surprises, starting on the title page. Tucked in the upper left corner of the verso page is a space station, topped by a carnival-ride-mechanism that seemingly flings the school-bus-rocket-ships into orbit. As one of these school-bus-rocket-ship lands on the moon, it is clear that there is a straggler in the group. A student at the end of the line (the helmet prevents us from knowing more about the child), drawing pad and box of crayons in hand, soon falls behind and sits drawing the Earth, as seen from the moon. 
When the straggler is left behind, they sit down to wait and draw. Focused on the their drawings, the student doesn't notice when camouflaged creatures emerge from the dusty grey moon surface. Amazed by the drawings, the colors especially, they gather around in awe. Sharing the pad and crayons, the student finds new friends and they make new art together, at first with trepidation and then with enthusiasm, sometimes on paper, sometimes on themselves and the surface of the moon. 

When the busses return to retrieve the student left behind, there are hugs - and reprimands for drawing on the moon itself. After cleaning up and returning to the bus-rocket, the hiding moon creatures wave goodbye, each one with a crayon in its hand. Back on the bus, helmet removed, we see the student with only the grey crayon left in the box drawing a moon creature. Another surprise, and what I LOVE LOVE LOVE about Field Trip to the Moon is not knowing the gender of the main character, even when the helmet comes off. Hare has drawn this marvelous, generous, creative child (who brings paper to the moon when others bring devices, which they can be seen engaging with on the final page of the story) truly gender neutral, and for this I applaud him, his editor(s) and Holiday House! Field Trip to the Moon is Hare's debut picture book and I can't wait to see what he does next - he is a stunning visual story teller!

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