Countdown: 2979 Days to the Moon

illus. by Thomas Gonzalez. 144p. bibliog. notes. photos. Peachtree. Sept. 2018. Tr $22.95. ISBN 9781682630136.
Gr 5 Up—This stunning book accurately details the U.S. space race to the moon and the very real dangers and pitfalls that accompanied it. Slade's carefully crafted, often alliterative text, written in free verse, is both succinct and readable, drawing this large topic down to the most necessary and interesting facts with enough detail to excite young teens as well as adults who may have lived through the missions. Gonzalez states in a note that his goal was "to create the illusion of being there," and indeed he has, from the science fiction–looking cover, which shows the moon's glowing reflection on an astronaut's helmet, to the lifelike portraits of the astronauts in pastels, watercolor, colored pencil, and airbrush. The text emphasizes the short amount of time it took for the program to succeed, from the first ill-fated mission in January, 1967, to Apollo 11 in July, 1969, that carried two men to the moon.
VERDICT Truly out of this world. A must-buy for most poetry collections.—Susan Scheps, formerly at Shaker Public Library, OH

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