Cover image for Countdown : 2979 days to the moon
Countdown : 2979 days to the moon
Countdown : 2979 days to the moon
Personal Author:
Publisher Info:
Atlanta : Peachtree Publishers, [2018]
Physical Description:
144 pages : color illustrations ; 29 cm
A daring dream -- The first mission, Apollo 1 -- The mission continues -- To the sky, Apollo 4-6 -- Risking it all, Apollo 7 -- Aiming for the moon, Apollo 8 -- Spider in space, Apollo 9 -- Dress rehearsal, Apollo 10 -- Achieving the dream, Apollo 11.


Call Number
Material Type
J 629.454 SLAD New or Popular Picture Book
J 629.454 SLAD New or Popluar Book Juv Nonfiction

On Order



Powerful free verse and stunning illustrations tell the true story of the American effort to land the first man on the Moon.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced that the United States would try to land a man on the Moon by the end of the decade. During the two thousand, nine hundred and seventy-nine days that followed his speech, eighteen astronauts climbed into spaceships; three of them died before even leaving the ground. Eight rockets soared into space. And four hundred thousand people -- engineers, technicians, scientists, mathematicians, and machinists -- joined Project Apollo in hopes of making the dream a reality.

Award-winning author and former mechanical engineer Suzanne Slade joins up with New York Times best-selling illustrator Thomas Gonzalez to tell the powerful story of the successes, failures, triumphs, tragedies, and lessons learned from Apollos 1 through 10 that led to the first Moon landing.

Author Notes

Suzanne Slade
is the award-winning author of over one hundred children?s books. She lives in Illinois.

Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

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 © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

"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.) ? © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Using narrative free verse, Slade recounts the U.S. race to the moon, focusing on the 2,979 days between President Kennedy's put-a-man-on-the-moon speech (May 25, 1961) and the successful lunar landing (July 20, 1969). She details Apollo 1's explosion, which caused the deaths of three astronauts; Apollos 2-3, which were grounded to retool for safety; Apollos 4-6, which tested the lunar module; Apollos 7-10, which returned astronauts to space and orbited the moon; and Apollo 11, which landed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the lunar surface. Slade's text is succinct yet full of intimate, insider details (for example, Armstrong and Aldrin left a patch commemorating the Apollo I astronauts on the moon), and the verse format results in appealing white space on most spreads. Gonzalez's mixed-media illustrations employ a realistic style that focuses on objects of significance: astronauts in full gear; a detaching, spent rocket engine; a fragile lunar module settling onto the Sea of Tranquility. Darker hues predominate, accented with bright yellows, reds, and oranges depicting rocket launches. Each chapter concludes with a spread summarizing the various missions and their astronauts, illustrated with captioned archival photos. Further information about the Apollo program, author and illustrator notes, and a bibliography are also appended. Elegant and informative, this is sure to attract casual browsers and true space nerds alike.--Kay Weisman Copyright 2018 Booklist