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NBFYR Book Review: T-Minus: The Race to the Moon

Book cover for T-Minus: The Race to the MoonRebecca Rapport, Ph.D. (Curriculum and Instruction), editor of the journal New Books for Young Readers, shares a review of T-Minus: The Race to the Moon by Jim Ottaviani, Kevin Cannon (Illustrator), Zander Cannon (Illustrator) (Aladdin. 2009. 124 pages. $12.99. Informational Science. Intermediate/Adolescent. Multicultural. 1416949607).

Readers interested in the Cold War history of the space race between the Russians and the Americans will be fascinated by this fictionalized, historical graphic novel about all the people involved in the herculean effort to land a man on the moon. The use of the T-Minus countdown device, beginning in 1957 with "T-MINUS 12 YEARS" and ending with "T-PLUS..." after the Apollo 11 mission, is quite effective in giving readers a sense of how much time passes between dramatic events.

The side columns listing failure after failure of both countries, and the deaths of some astronauts due to these unsuccessful missions and tests, reinforce the danger and the determination of those involved. The behind-the-scenes look at all the arguments over the decisions that are made also highlights the respect the scientists on both sides had for each other. The Soviet and American missions presented make this an intriguing and balanced look at what happened when President Kennedy declared that the U.S. would have a man on the moon within the decade. A glossary on the front and back covers is quite helpful; a page entitled "Did All of This Really Happen?" includes added information and resources for those readers who need to know more.

Looking for a book for a young reader? See a list of current books or do an advanced search. See also Book Week, October 13-15, 2009.

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