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ONE GIANT LEAP by Robert Burleigh


by Robert Burleigh & illustrated by Mike Wimmer

Pub Date: April 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-399-23883-3
Publisher: Philomel

With customarily heightened language, Burleigh’s lengthy free-verse poem describes the moments between the landing of the Eagle on the lunar surface and the Columbia’s return to “fragile, beautiful home.” In sentences rarely longer than a line, the present-tense text provides an almost sportscasterly narration of the events: “[Armstrong] jumps to the landing leg’s round footpad. / He holds on. He pauses. He points his right foot and steps off.” The slow cadence should build excitement, but somehow the accretion of minutiae bogs this account down instead of giving young readers graspable details to relish. The line-after-line look of this poem, with few breaks to assist in pacing, results in an undifferentiated emotional tone that gives the narrative lie to such lines as, “They feel part of something so much larger than themselves.” Wimmer’s heroic full-bleed paintings employ a midnight-blue palette and feature largely unsurprising compositions. Taken together, text and illustrations make this one to skip over in a season chock-full of moon landings. (Informational picture book. 6-10)