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Eight Days Gone

Eight Days Gone

by Linda McReynolds, Ryan O'Rourke (Illustrator)

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Snappy verse and retro art recount Apollo 11's historic, eight-day mission to the moon in 1969. Young readers learn the basics about the gear, equipment, and spaceship used by the astronauts, as well as the history of NASA's moon mission.


Snappy verse and retro art recount Apollo 11's historic, eight-day mission to the moon in 1969. Young readers learn the basics about the gear, equipment, and spaceship used by the astronauts, as well as the history of NASA's moon mission.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
McReynolds, in her children’s book debut, offers a compact and rhythmic look at the first lunar landing 43 years out: “Launchpad countdown./ Smoke and flame./ Rumbling. Blasting./ Seizing fame.” The same four-line rhyme scheme continues throughout, from liftoff and moonwalk to splashdown and celebratory parade. The brisk recounting sometimes requires prior knowledge (or at least a parental conversation or two) to fully appreciate its pared-down nature; e.g., most younger readers won’t know that the landing was made on the moon’s Sea of Tranquility, which the author alludes to with the line, “Desolation./ Silent. Dark./ Tranquil sea./ Barren. Stark.” (McReynolds provides additional details about the moon landing in an author’s note, and a bibliography suggests print and online resources for children.) Rendered in oil, O’Rourke’s (One Big Rain) flat, clean-lined cartoons have a speckled, airbrushed quality and are reminiscent of some of the Golden Book illustrations of the Apollo 11 mission’s era. A spread of a half-Earth hanging in black space as a single astronaut on the moon gazes toward it is awe-inspiring. The book’s small trim size echoes the condensed, yet evocative account found within. Ages 5–8. (July)
Kirkus Reviews
The momentous Apollo 11 mission unfolds in pictures and rhyming verse. Eighteen two-page spreads illustrate the story, and McReynolds tells it in tight four-line verses using identical rhyme schemes, beginning with "Hundreds gather. / Hot July. / Spaceship ready-- / set to fly." The rocket blasts into space, begins its orbit, and, after a uniform check, the lunar module disconnects and lands safely on the moon. The control room watches intently. Michael Collins stays with Columbia, "Waits, observing, / tracking trip." Neil Armstrong is the first to walk on the moon ("Armstrong makes his / one small step. / Giant leap from / years of prep"), and Buzz Aldrin? Well ... "Edwin Aldrin / hops around. / Boot prints left on / ashen ground." O'Rourke's richly detailed illustrations are done in oils, with black, white and many shades of gray predominating. They often resemble photographs, with the exception of the people, who look jarringly like Playskool figures. The story has often been written for children before, but never as comprehensively yet concisely for the very young. The rhyme scheme and flat perspectives, if not palette, recall Dan Yaccarino's splendid Zoom! Zoom! Zoom! I'm Off to the Moon (1997). An author's note and bibliography extend the experience, though the books listed notably omit the many fine titles published recently on the subject. Still, nifty. (Informational picture book. 3-6)
Children's Literature - Suzanne Javid
It's 1969. Hundreds gather. Hot July. Spaceship's ready. Set to fly. It is a rhythmic and extraordinary look at the historic eight-day Apollo 11 manned space mission, the first to land successfully on the moon. Strong pictures beautifully executed in shades of white, gray and black oils provide support for young readers. Large, bolded and simple text written in a four-line rhyme pattern appears on every other page. Basic information highlighting spaceships, gear, equipment and space travel is provided. From Launch pad countdown and liftoff to one small step for mankind and splashdown, this is a wonderful, simple but concise and comprehensive read for young children. A selective, short bibliography is included as well as several web resources for review. Even though an Author's Note describes the space mission, much more prior knowledge, through parental or teacher input, is needed for young readers. This book is an excellent introduction to the sequencing of events and space terminology for young readers. Reviewer: Suzanne Javid
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Vibrant poetry and dramatic artwork describe the 1969 Apollo 11 voyage. One- and two-syllable words drive the story from the launch to the lunar landing and the historic Moon walk, while crisp oil paintings take readers through the mission. The three astronauts are shown walking to the Florida launch site and waving before their epic journey. Each man gets his own spread, e.g., "Armstrong makes his/one small step./Giant leap/from years of prep." All three are shown in their victory parade. The bold, punchy text and vivid illustrations combine to make this a great candidate for storytime as well as exciting solo enjoyment.—Frances E. Millhouser, formerly at Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA

Product Details

Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.40(d)
AD280L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Linda McReynolds has published many poems in children's magazines. EIGHT DAYS GONE is her first children's book. She lives in Montgomery, Illinois.

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