When I was a kid, my dream was to be an astronaut.
Not terribly unique, as kids dreams went, in my generation. The space program had lost a bit of its momentum in the mid-1970s, but the moon landings were still fresh in memory, and in any event, a movie came along in 1977 that made space a going concern for an awful lot of young'uns, myself included. So in my first few years of grade school, I read a ton of space books. I remember very few of them, but I learned a lot from each. One of them that I do remember, quite strongly, is a book by an author and illustrator named Jeanne Bendick, called The First Book of Space Travel. The book came out in 1953, which means that when I read it in first grade (1977), it was 24 years old. And more...the book came out four years before Sputnik flew.
The book was mentioned a while back on the wonderful blog and everything else too. Seeing these images again after so long takes me right back to thumbing through this book while sitting in Mrs. Smith's classroom at Witch Hazel School. (When I should have been working on my assignments...sigh....)
I need to track down a copy of this book! Why it's not in my personal library already, I'm not really sure.