Books & Literature

Book Review: Touch the Moon, by Phil Cummings and Coral Tulloch

An atmospheric and lyrical story about the moon landing from a uniquely Australian perspective to mark the 50-year anniversary of the moon walk.

A wonderful story to help jog the memory of those of us old enough to remember the moon landing.

Phil Cummings is a South Australian author born in Port Broughton. Since his first book was published in 1989, he has written over 60 children’s books, two of which have been turned into theatrical productions by Windmill Performing Arts. Coral Tulloch has illustrated almost 60 children’s books. This is a collaboration with years of experience.

Those of us who are over 55 will have memories of the first moon landing on 21st July 1969 at 12.56pm (AEST). Most of us remember exactly where we were and what we were doing: maybe being sent home from school, or not going to school in the first place; the waiting all day which seemed interminable as a child; and the black and white pictures on the television, if you were lucky to have one.

Touch the Moon is the story of Cummings’ memories of that day. The waiting, and (for him) the snowstorm which occurred on that day, pulling him between watching history being made and playing in this white snow which had unbelievably decided to fall on the same day.

Tulloch’s watercolour illustrations are a mixture of images from inside the house, showing the detritus of the moon fever which gripped the world (newspaper clippings, paper planes, homemade rockets), black and white pictures of the images we saw on the television, and the joys of children playing outside in the snow.

This year and certainly, this book, has brought back a flood of memories for me as I’m sure it will for many people. Touch the Moon is a good way to share those memories with our younger loved ones.

Phil Cummings tells us he “has written this piece, my recollections of that day, in the hope that others will share their experiences and memories, and encourage children to ponder and be excited by the endless possibilities in their future”.

There will be many books released on the subject of the moon landing 50th anniversary this year, but Cummings and Tulloch have created a lovely picture book which will be a great start to conversations you will surely have with younger family members, school children, and even those of your generation who shared your experiences 50 years ago.

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

Distributed by: Allen &Unwin
Released: May 2019
RRP: $24.99 hardcover


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