Sunday, March 14, 2021

Book Review: 'Twenty-One Steps' by Jeff Gottesfeld

✰✰✰✰½ Back in 1921, an unknown, fallen soldier returned in a casket to lay in state in the U.S. Capitol. He represented the many who died nameless and faceless during World War I. After being laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery, time went by and people began to forget. To stop the desecration, changes were made and sentinel guards installed. Never again would the Unknowns be alone. 

Without fail, a sentinel guard has been present at the tomb since July 2, 1937 to keep vigil. It's the most difficult post to earn in the United States Army, and the guards strive for perfection. Every single thing the sentinel guards do honors the unknown fallen. This book is an excellent reminder of the sacrifices our servicemen and women have made in the past and continue to make today.

The Bottom Line: This picture book tells the little known history of the sentinel guards and what they do. Respectfully written without politics, author Jeff Gottesfeld broaches a difficult topic with dignity and grace. Beautiful illustrations cover full page and two-page spreads and help convey this difficult topic with reverence. Highly recommended reading for children in grades 2 - 3. Also, a highly recommended addition to school and public libraries.

Details: Twenty-One Steps: Guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier written by Jeff Gottesfeld & illustrated by Matt Tavares. Picture book published by Candlewick Press in 2021. 32 p. ISBN: 978-1-5362-0148-2 [NOTE: I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This was made possible via the Early Reviewers Program at LibraryThing.] 

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