cover image Countdown: 2979 Days to the Moon

Countdown: 2979 Days to the Moon

Suzanne Slade, illus. by Thomas Gonzalez. Peachtree, $22.95 (144p) ISBN 978-1-68263-013-6

“At first/ it’s only a dream—/ an ambitious, outrageous idea.” This account of NASA’s first Apollo missions marries a captivating free-verse narrative with lifelike illustrations as it takes readers through the 2,979 days from President Kennedy’s moonwalk announcement to Neil Armstrong’s “giant leap for mankind.” Gonzalez (Seven and a Half Tons of Steel) extends the realistic precision and lyrical imagery offered in words by Slade (Astronaut Annie) with vivid mixed-media illustrations that stun with photographic realism and varied perspectives, from a close-up of an astronaut’s gloved hand to expansive, breathtaking scenes of Earth from afar. A spread of statistical recaps of each mission and its astronauts further complement the lyrical lines, along with several full-color NASA archival photographs. Addendums offer an Apollo 11 postscript and a glimpse into the jobs required for the Apollo program. (Women and people of color, as per history, aren’t abundant in this account of U.S. astronauts.) Launched in advance of next year’s 50th anniversary of the first moon walk, this well-researched title offers a stirring introduction to one of humankind’s most impressive undertakings. Ages 10–14. Author’s agent: Karen Grencik, Red Fox Literary. (Sept.)