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T-Minus: The Race to the Moon Paperback – May 19 2009

3 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin (May 19 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416949607
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416949602
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 1 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #54,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Jim Ottaviani, 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.

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By Nicola Mansfield HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Nov. 22 2009
Format: Paperback
Ages 10+

Summary: Starting in 1957, this non-fiction book tells the story of the space race between the United States and Russia as they each strove to be the first to make a more impressive advancement in space technology, which started with the Russians being the first to launch a satellite into space and ended with the US being the first to set foot on the moon. The book focuses on the men and women working behind the scenes rather than the astronauts themselves.

Comments: This is a perfect example of how a graphic book can be so much more rewarding than the traditional textual book. Personally, this is not a subject I would ever pick up a regular book about as it is just not something that would normally interest me enough to read about it. But one glance through this book and my attention was immediately caught. The illustration was realistic, facial expressions showed real emotion, the black and white treatment gave both a feel of the past and a "space-y" feel. I wanted to start reading! And what an enjoyable book it is. The book is told in story format switching between the US and Russia. When the move to Russia has been made the reader is aware as the script has changed to include a backwards N denoting the Soviet language. There are plenty of footnotes, each found immediately under the frame in question which is a very user friendly design, much easier than having to look at the bottom of the page or as often happens in non-fiction, hunting around at the back of the book! Throughout the book there are also side panels which show a rocket and report chronologically of every attempt, both Russian and American, and whether it was successful or whether it failed. Included is data such as flight duration and, later on, astronauts aboard.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading this graphic novel, I needed to visit my ophthalmologist​t to get a new set of eyeballs.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa213b18c) out of 5 stars 12 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0d5ebf4) out of 5 stars A remarkable look at the space race told comic book style June 19 2009
By Mark McGinty - Published on
Format: Paperback
As we "deet deet deet" into the first panel like a capsule descending from outer space, we enter the remarkable world of a space race told comic book style. I've always been a fan of a storyteller who lights a fuse right away. Give us a ticking bomb, a deadline, a finite amount of time in which our hero must succeed or face annihilation: Run Lola Run and Back to the Future did it perfectly and we all remember the catastrophic Y2K computer bug that nearly wiped out the human race and unraveled the fabric of the space-time continuum. Thankfully Dick Clark was there to bring us home in the nick of time.

In the case of T-Minus, the countdown is the premise of the book and while the reader knows that the race will be won when the clock expires, the book's characters are racing against a different deadline: JFK's challenge to put a man on the moon and return him to earth by the end of the decade.

So brings T-Minus: The Race to the Moon, a compelling behind-the-scenes story of the space race filled with software glitches, landing bags that deploy prematurely, loose heat shields and a pair of cosmonauts forced to hide in their downed capsule while Siberian wolves threaten them outside. Told with parallel stories of the United States vs. the Soviet Union, with characters that come and go as the years pass, the artwork pulls you into the world of scientists and space travelers and makes you feel what they actually felt. The character introductions are subtle. Every few pages I say to myself "Oh, there's John Glenn..." or "Hey, that's Yuri Gagarin." They are woven in seamlessly and their allegiance is discernable by a clever variance in speech bubble font (the Russkies speak their words with a backwards N). And it's nice to see that the Soviets aren't portrayed as evil, mindless thugs (Indy 4?) but competent, brilliant scientists and explorers...that is, until they get desperate.

The crisp artwork is filled with first-rate detail, with tiny lifelike tools, soldiers marching to battle and endless knobs, buttons and switches. Most captivating is the iconic imagery of the space missions, especially the highlights drawn into the margins which are reminiscent of the one-shot Sergio Aragonés cartoons from Mad Magazine.

As I sit and write this on a day when six humans in space are awaiting the arrival of seven more, the most ever together in space at one time, I realize what a big deal it was to have two men in space at once, how far we've come and how far we have yet to go. Best part of the book: Yuri Gagarin's landing in the middle of a field and his greeting to the two startled spectators who happen to be nearby.

As a space buff I thought this was a terrific book that elaborated on a great story that we all know. Meant to educate children ages 9-12 it will provide certain enjoyment for adults (I finally learned what woomera means). This is best exemplified by an astronaut who defies his orders and absolutely refuses to go to bed while orbiting the moon because he is too busy taking pictures. Can you blame him? I'd fight to stay awake too!

Mark McGinty is the author of ELVIS AND THE BLUE MOON CONSPIRACY
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Jean E. Pouliot - Published on
Format: Paperback
Trying to tell the story of the US-Soviet space race is biting off quiet a large slice of history. Ottaviani and crew are only partly successful in this graphic novel approach to the tale.

There's a lot of good about this book. It tries to tell the story of the space race with as much of an eye to the Russian side as to the American. I had never heard of The Great Designer, Sergei Korolev, the sickly Soviet master engineer who was the Werner von Braun of the Soviet space program. The contrast between the stunning early Russian space "firsts" contrasted with string of the US rocket disasters was as eye-opening as the later American series of successes and Russians debacles.

That said, the book's missteps were irritating. Many launches are described with a single illustration on the sides of a page. Many critical missions of the Gemini program, which tested the ability of astronauts to rendezvous and dock in space, were "covered" in a few confusing throwaway side panels. And the attention paid to certain missions or events was out of balance to their importance. The routine orbit of Apollo 8 around the moon went on for page after page. Also, the arguments about which corporations should build the US space craft were hard to follow and borderline irrelevant. And Ottaviani more than occasionally got lost in depicting unintelligible NASA space-talk.

In the end, though, I came away a great deal of knowledge from this imperfect depiction of the space program, and the two-party race to the moon. Not a glowing endorsement, but a thumbs up, weakly, nonetheless.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0a37d14) out of 5 stars Fantastic look at both sides of the Space Race! June 17 2010
By M. Pollard - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this for my son (who loved it!) and really enjoyed it myself. Tons of historical detail and personal stories. I learned much more about the Soviet side of the space race from this book than from anything else I've read or seen.

Every boy with an interest in space, rocketry, science or engineering should have a copy and so should every school library.
HASH(0xa0a01894) out of 5 stars Engrossing tale of the space race July 23 2009
By oldtaku - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What did it take to get a man on the moon? This book is the fascinating tale of the US/Soviet space race. The writing is excellent, and the art is perfectly suited for the subject - the narrative is literally framed with the launches, failed and successful, on the path to this goal.

This is mostly an ensemble cast, but if there's a single star it's the mysterious genius in charge of the Soviet space program - The Designer. I didn't really know much about him (we still don't, in absolute terms, but I sure know a lot more now). And in fact the USSR most likely would have beaten the US to the Moon if not... well I won't spoil the why.

While the art may be appropriately clinical, the story is as much human as technical, and the book is a slowly building crescendo to a double page spread that to my surprise actually choked me up a bit. I had not to that point realized how pulled into the book I was.

Some of Ottaviani's other books are a bit too introspective for me to recommend to just anyone, but this and Bone Sharps I would recommend to anyone of any age.
HASH(0xa0d5f570) out of 5 stars For Tthose With Or Without Nostalgia Aug. 16 2014
By James Elfers - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you grew up during the space age this book will instantly take you back to those days. Both the Americans and the Soviets had "the right Stuff" but the Soviets held the lead and, as this book demonstrates, the USSR's hammer and sickle may very well have been the first to be planted on the moon if not for the sudden death of Russian rocket genius Korolev.

The illustrations are great. When the Russians speak, the occasional letter appears backwards. It seems well researched and is well plotted giving proper praise of each triumph whether it be East or West. A great read for those who recall the heady days of NASA or those too young to have experienced the race to the moon. My only complaint is that it is too short.