A handsomely packaged look back at an epochal achievement.



A free-verse ode to the Apollo program, still the high-water mark of this country’s space program.

Like Catherine Thimmesh’s Team Moon (2006), this album is offered in tribute to the massive, collective eight-year effort to send explorers to our closest celestial neighbor and then bring them back. Slade intersperses resumes for the members of each Apollo crew up to Apollo 11 with extended poetic flights that include significant technical details along with dramatic passages: “Explosive fire. Deafening noise. / The rocket blasts off / above an inferno of white-hot flames.” A prose coda offers nods to the major corporations that developed and built the Saturn V rocket and the spacecraft it carried, then an account of the Apollo 11 astronauts’ triumphant reception back on Earth. Gonzalez’s big, kaleidoscopic montages and page-filling close-ups of tense faces likewise highlight the drama and are so realistic as to be sometimes difficult to distinguish from the photos with which they are mixed. One glimpse of brown hands using a slide rule and an African-American woman (unidentified but probably Katherine Johnson) in another montage are the only indications here that the space program wasn’t an all-white enterprise. Still, it makes a grand—if, so many years later, nostalgic—tale about a magnificent effort.

A handsomely packaged look back at an epochal achievement. (author’s note, illustrator’s note, bibliography, sources, index) (Nonfiction/poetry. 10-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68263-013-6

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for...



A custom-built, bulletproof limo links two historical figures who were pre-eminent in more or less different spheres.

Garland admits that a claim that FDR was driven to Congress to deliver his “Day of Infamy” speech in a car that once belonged to Capone rests on shaky evidence. He nonetheless uses the anecdote as a launchpad for twin portraits of contemporaries who occupy unique niches in this country’s history but had little in common. Both were smart, ambitious New Yorkers and were young when their fathers died, but they definitely “headed in opposite directions.” As he fills his biographical sketches with standard-issue facts and has disappointingly little to say about the car itself (which was commissioned by Capone in 1928 and still survives), this outing seems largely intended to be a vehicle for the dark, heavy illustrations. These are done in muted hues with densely scratched surfaces and angled so that the two men, the period backgrounds against which they are posed, and the car have monumental looks. It’s a reach to bill this, as the author does, a “story about America,” but it does at least offer a study in contrasts featuring two of America’s most renowned citizens. Most of the human figures are white in the art, but some group scenes include a few with darker skin.

The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for thought. (timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-88448-620-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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A coherent if unexceptional overview of the subject given a solid boost by the visuals.



Finely detailed cutaway views of spacecraft and satellites launch a broad account of space exploration’s past, present, and near future.

Jenkins begins with the journey of Voyager I, currently the “most distant man-made object ever,” then goes back to recap the history of astronomy, the space race, and the space-shuttle program. He goes on to survey major interplanetary probes and the proliferating swarm of near-Earth satellites, then closes with reflections on our current revived interest in visiting Mars and a brief mention of a proposed “space elevator.” This is all familiar territory, at least to well-read young skywatchers and would-be astronauts, and despite occasional wry observations (“For longer stays [in space], things to consider include staying fit and healthy, keeping clean, and not going insane”) it reads more like a digest than a vivid, ongoing story. Biesty’s eye for exact, precise detail is well in evidence in the illustrations, though, and if one spread of generic residents of the International Space Station is the only place his human figures aren’t all white and male, at least he offers riveting depictions of space gear and craft with every last scientific instrument and structural element visible and labeled.

A coherent if unexceptional overview of the subject given a solid boost by the visuals. (index, timeline, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: June 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8931-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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