Daring Dozen

Category: Children’s Books
Reviewed by: Ted Spitzmiller
Title: Daring Dozen: The Twelve who Walked on the Moon
Author: Suzanne Slade
Illustrator: Alan Marks
NSS Amazon link for this book
Ages: 5 to 9
Format: Hardcover, Kindle
Pages: 48
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Date: March 2019
Retail Price: $17.99/$9.99
ISBN: 978-1580897730

As an aerospace historian I’ve read many highly detailed descriptions of the human venture into space and have authored a few myself. So, I’m familiar with the Apollo program in detail. This is, however, the first children’s book on space flight that I’ve reviewed. The book is a brief summary of the six Apollo missions that took men to the lunar surface—written for 5- to 9-year-olds.

It was a new experience for me to evaluate it from the dual perspective of imagining a child reading it, and a parent (grandparent) evaluating its content and helping to explain some of the more challenging concepts of this high-tech adventure to kids with a limited (but growing) vocabulary.

The book is essentially divided in two segments; the first 32 pages are adorned with simple hand-drawn illustrations (by artist Alan Marks) which capture the essence of the adventure and a brief (20-40 words) description on each page. Each of the six Apollo missions is covered on two to four pages. The author’s prose in this part of the book, while well chosen for the age group, uses graphic descriptions in an almost poetic manner, and sneaks in some new words and is thought provoking. It also uses a few “old words” with new meanings. There is periodic reference to some of the scientific work done by the astronauts.

The second half is a straight forward summary of each mission with such details as the total hours spent on the Moon and the number of Moon-walks (extravehicular activities). It has actual photos of each crew, their activities on the Moon, the Saturn V rocket and various spacecraft components.

There is a further reading list, source notes, and a selected biography to channel added engagement into the topic. If the parent is under 50, chances are they will learn many interesting aspects of the Apollo Program that escaped them in their earlier years. The timing for the release of this book is relevant because of the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing in July of 1969.

The book is well done, and my only problem was not being able to find any kids to read it with—all my grandkids are over 20!

© 2019 Ted Spitzmiller

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1 thought on “Book Review: Daring Dozen”

  1. Being an active volunteer with NSS, I am a tireless advocate of the manned space program and the idea of humans becoming a multi-planet species. I spend important time spreading this NSS vision in the classroom as a teacher aide in special education. One of the tools used in special education is illustrated books that cover many fields and subjects that are used in conjunction with standard curricula textbooks. When I evaluate the subject areas of the classroom reading material, I notice that there are very few books that cover the history of the manned space program. I also notice that most students have little or no interest in the space program. If books like Daring Dozen were included in the special education classrooms, both teachers and students would be more in touch with what humans have accomplished in space and what might be accomplished in the future.


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