Note: This post is part of a series on School Library Media/Materials for a course

Dahl, M., Shea, D. & Alderman, D. (2004). On the Launchpad. Bloomington: Picture Window Books.

Summary: A countdown from twelve to one as a space shuttle awaits liftoff.  Follows the story of preparation to lift-off of a rocket.  Included in the book are fun facts about space and engineering, a “find the hidden numbers” activity (with answers in the back) and “how to take an observation walk” activity. Also includes a glossary, index, and acknowledgements.

Quantitative reading level Lexile level (using Lexile Analyzer) 520L

Qualitative reading analysis (Text Complexity analyzed using SCASS/Achieve the Core Informational text rubric)

Text Structure: For a picture book, the text is slightly to moderately complex. Connections between ideas, processes and events are explicit and clear and text features are not essential to understanding content. The use of graphics are mostly supplementary to the text itself, though as a picture book it could be argued that they are integral to understanding the text as well, increasing the overall complexity measure.

Language features: Conversationality is explicit, literal and easy to understand. Vocabulary is mostly conversational with some words that would be considered advanced for the target age groups but are not unnecessarily complex. Text is composed of mainly simple sentences.

Purpose: Purpose is clear, concrete and narrowly focused.

Knowledge demands: Subject matter relies on everyday practical knowledge with few references to specific content. Ideas are simple and concrete. There is no intertextuality or references to other texts within the primary text (there are some listed in the references and further reading sections.)

Content area: Math Picture Book, Counting

Content area standards:

With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the text in which they appear (e.g., what person, place, thing, or idea in the text an illustration depicts).

Compare two numbers between 1 and 10 presented as written numerals.

Understand that the last number name said tells the number of objects counted. The number of objects is the same regardless of their arrangement or the order in which they were counted.

Counting and Cardinality

  • Know number names and the count sequence.
  • Count to tell the number of objects.
  • Compare numbers.

Curriculum suggestions: Early literacy in math and reading, introductory math (counting) and science concepts.

Personal thoughts: I was actually worried about this book’s appeal because it reads a little clunky to me. I personally prefer books that rhyme for this age group (suggested 4-8 years.) That said my almost three year old LOVES this book and kept taking it from my review pile to read with me. He enjoys the pictures and has most of the content memorized, though he still thinks the radio dishes look like sinks (they really do).

Subjects/themes: Counting, Rockets, Engineering

Digital Content:

Fact Hound

A Plus Math

AAA Math

Cool Math 4 Kids