- How to Bicycle to the Moon to Plant Sunflowers by Mordicai Gerstein
The boy narrator is too busy with "homework, soccer, violin, and all the other stuff I had to do" to make a bicycle trip himself to cheer up the Man in the Moon with a garden project, but fortunately he's done all the heavy thinking, and now it's up to an enterprising reader to simply execute the plan. And what a plan it is. Two thousand used truck-tire inner tubes and a pair of sturdy birch trees make a giant slingshot, which will propel said bicycle along tautly stretched lengths of connected garden hose (harpooned up to the moon via slingshot), which will not only serve as the roadway but also the irrigation system to prepare the lunar soil. NASA cooperates with a donated space suit (in an extra-small size), snacks and squeezable space foods provide nourishment, special clamps keep the bicycle from slipping off the hose, a hangable sleeping bag lets the traveler dangle from the hose to get some rest, and the rest is just a matter of simple gardening. After the celebrations and TV interviews are over, everyone can gaze through a telescope to enjoy the vision of the moon abloom in a smiley face of sunflowers. Crayon-bright cartoon illustrations, neatly numbered for ease in following directions, strike a [End Page 418] delightful balance between fantasy and plausibility. There's enough reference here to the actual challenges of space travel to justify a quirky side trip in a solar system science unit—not that flights of fancy require justification.