cover image Seven and a Half Tons of Steel

Seven and a Half Tons of Steel

Janet Nolan, illus. by Thomas Gonzalez. Peachtree, $17.95 (36p) ISBN 978-1-56145-912-4

After the twin towers fell on 9/11, one of the beams recovered from the site was melted in a foundry and used to form the bow of a Navy warship, the USS New York. Nolan (PB&J Hooray!) treats the attack gently (“The World Trade Center towers came down. Almost three thousand people lost their lives”), then moves on to the warship’s construction and triumphant launch. Gonzalez’s (Toad Weather) breathtaking spreads dazzle. Early on, he presents a quiet, haunting image of the catastrophe as a woman crosses a New York City street crowded with taxis. All appears normal until viewers notice a reflection in a car’s side mirror in the foreground, which shows one of the jets streaking toward its target. Later, sunset-illuminated cloudscapes form vast, stirring backdrops for the USS New York at sea. The emphasis is not on damage and destruction, but on America’s power to recover. Teachers and parents looking for picture books that celebrate the nation and its military will welcome Nolan and Gonzalez’s work. Ages 7–10. [em]Author’s agent: Steven Chudney, Chudney Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Deborah Warren, East West Literary. (Aug.) [/em]