Reviews for Eight Days Gone

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
"Nation watching, / bated breath. / [cf2]Eagle[cf1] landing-- / life or death." Brief rhyming couplets tell the historic story of [cf2]Apollo 11[cf1]'s 1969 moon landing mission. Blocky stylized illustrations, simplified down to the bare basics, capture atmosphere, import, and emotion. An author's note provides context. Reading list, websites.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 May #2
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) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 May #4

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)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 August

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

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