From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up–Beginning 12 years before the lunar landing, this book chronicles the competition between the United States and the Soviet Union through a catalog of both countries' multiple attempts on the road to manned spaceflight. Organized as a countdown, making the outcome seem inevitable, the frequent, prominent sidebars list a type of rocket, the duration of its flight, and whether the mission was a success or a failure. There are more than 30 attempts chronicled, and the shift between Soviet and U.S. successes creates an interesting balance in the narrative. Ottaviani credits the early Russian successes to chief designer Korolev, and his influence and personal vision fill the first half of the book. The American portion of the narrative lacks a parallel central architect, with the text focusing less on process and more on the majesty, beauty, and peril of simply being in space. The story is necessarily condensed–the author notes that approximately 400,000 people worked on the U.S. projects overall–but plentiful information is provided in the numerous panels and explanatory captions per page. The copious detail will appeal to some, and certainly helps to underscore the meticulous research that went into this undertaking. Ottaviani is particular with facts and eager to inspire readers with regard to the scientific process.–Benjamin Russell, Belmont High School, NH
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About the Author
, a former engineer who is now a librarian at the University of Michigan, has garnered numerous nominations and awards (including Eisner and ALA/YALSA nods) for his graphic novels about science. He speaks regularly on comics in venues ranging from local schools to Stockholm’s Nobel Museum. Jim lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Kevin Cannon and Zander Cannon
(no relation) have worked together since 2004, illustrating such books as Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards
and The Stuff of Life.
Zander earned two Eisner awards for his work on the Top Ten series.
Both Cannons reside in Minneapolis.