Bok’s Giant Leap: One Moon Rock’s Journey Through Time and Space

Crown. Nov. 2021. 48p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593378861.
Gr 1-4–Bok, a cute anthropomorphized rock with craters for eyes, has been on the moon from the very beginning. From the violent cosmic collision of its creation to the subsequent cooling, the moon’s long geologic history seems to be the focus of the story. But what starts as a study of the moon’s history transforms into an overview of life on earth. That shift in direction is unexpected, as Bok’s role is downgraded from an active participant through billions of years of geologic change, to a far-off observer to the evolution of life on earth, to a sleeper through human history, until picked up by Neil Armstrong to be taken back to earth for further study. The overview of earth’s natural history skips some steps to get to the modern day. As Bok is sleeping, humanity is innovating and inventing, with significant historical figures such as Bessie Coleman and Plato mentioned, although without explanation of their significance. Eventually, humans succeed in putting men on the moon, completing the circle started with the moon’s creation billions of years ago. Back matter includes additional information about the moon, earth, and the 1969 moon landing, but no glossary or time line, so the time frames and vocabulary may be confusing to young readers. The illustrations are lovely, creating a clear vision of the cosmic impacts and volcanic explosions of the moon’s early days and the strangeness of the earth’s early life forms.
VERDICT Despite its minor flaws, this exploration of deep time as witnessed by one ancient little moon rock will appeal to budding astronauts, future paleontologists, and burgeoning geologists alike.

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