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On the Launch Pad: A Counting Book About Rockets

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A countdown from twelve to one as a space shuttle awaits liftoff. Readers are invited to find hidden numbers on an illustrated activity page.

24 pages, Library Binding

First published January 1, 2004

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About the author

Michael Dahl

761 books133 followers
Michael Dahl is the author of over 100 children's books. Some of his most popular series are Finnegan Zwake, Library of Doom, and Dragonblood. He resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in a haunted house.

He also writes under aliases Chris Carey, Rick Thomas, and Mark Ziegler.

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5 stars
27 (15%)
4 stars
65 (36%)
3 stars
71 (40%)
2 stars
12 (6%)
1 star
1 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 28 of 28 reviews
Profile Image for Mama Bibliosoph.
271 reviews13 followers
January 26, 2019
Beginning with 12, we count down to blast off as a rocket is readied for launch. Turning the book 90 degrees on the final page for a vertically aligned BLAST OFF! adds a bit of interest.

This is a standard counting down book, designed to teach early number skills. Each number is given at the side of the page in a repeating format as a numeral, a word, and in dots (for subitizing). There is also some number of things to count within the illustration itself as part of the narrated story ("EIGHT trucks carry the fuel."), and a numeral hidden on every page which is fun to hunt for.

Some of the things to be counted will be tricky for kids at this developmental level. On the more familiar side there are stars, trucks, astronauts, windows, and a rocket, but there are also workers, engineers, spotlights, radar dishes, control panels, launch towers, and rocket engines.

I like that there is a visually diverse mix of people, including lots of women and people with different skin colors, represented. A nice pick for that number-obsessed kid with attention issues.

I review children's books from the perspective of a parent of two kids with autism. This review is part of a list of 20 recommended picture books with space themes for autistic kids, which can be found on my blog: https://www.lineupthebooks.com/20-pic...
Profile Image for gina.
1,357 reviews10 followers
September 6, 2016
We brought home a ton of space books. Of all of them, this one was the winner he kept coming back to. I liked it too. Sometimes a nice simple picture book is a relief after reading lengthy board books with like The Little Cub which has paragraphs and paragraphs on it's 32 pages. Read this and several others like it 15 times a day and your voice will be so happy for something simple. Too bad the book had several tears in it before it got to us, and I didn't keep it more than a few days because I don't want little hands to make them worse. So off it goes.
Profile Image for Heidi-Marie.
3,854 reviews82 followers
June 21, 2016
Last minute cover for E.'s Toddler storytime (space theme). Quick glance through and I thought this book would be good. Had some counting we could do, and good lead in to Zoom Zoom Zoom rhyme.
Profile Image for Alison.
43 reviews21 followers
January 6, 2023
This is a counting book, in count down from 12 format, with a space theme that focuses only on the actual launch pad environment. It is part of the Know Your Numbers series by Picture Window Books. The pictures are simple and bold and offer take off points of discussion, such as, fuelling the rockets and the command centre.

The number, number word and dots are on each page as well as a fun, hidden number to find. I would have preferred the dots in a dice format or 10 frame style.

Once open, you turn the page 11 times. The pictures are bold enough that you can easily count the forms with a group. It can be simplified for a younger group. For all pages except 7 and 6 which share a double page, every number has its own full double page.

With regard to diversity, there are many shades of skin, many hairstyles, including male pattern baldness, females, and older persons with grey hair.

This is definitely an appropriate book to share with younger children in Preschool or Kindergarten.
1,138 reviews2 followers
August 10, 2021
A cute counting book, count down from 12-1 while a rocket gets ready to launch. Each page shows the number, an illustration with corresponding amount of items (ex 2 rocket boosters), a set of dots to represent the number, and the number hidden somewhere in the picture. My kids are a little older but they liked trying to find the numbers-some are a little tricky! Very cute for toddlers and preschoolers, with a high interest topic.
154 reviews
February 22, 2019
A great book for little future astronauts! My kids loved finding the hidden number on each page and seeing all the different aspects and jobs associated with space travel. Matisse fans will appreciate the work that went into the illustrations. Great job Dahl, Alderman and Shea!
Profile Image for Mary.
2,710 reviews11 followers
March 8, 2021
A twelve-to-one rocket countdown picture book. Focusing on the preparations for a rocket to blastoff, each double page spread has items to count with the matching number to locate. There is also information and resources at the back of the book that will add to the book's usefulness.
Profile Image for Twos Bothell.
101 reviews1 follower
June 11, 2021
Such a fun book of counting! With twos, we mostly read and counted, though as a child grows, more could be learned about the science and technology portion and what the objects in the book do. Some research might be required! :)
Profile Image for Anna.
741 reviews15 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
August 1, 2021
One problem with checking out books from the Children’s Room is that they are sometimes kind of sticky. This one is also kind of smelly. DNF, no fault of the author or illustrator 😂
Profile Image for Sarah.
8 reviews
November 6, 2012
I like how each number presents facets of a rocket launch. I enjoy the art and have found it fun to see where the artist has hidden each of the twelve numbers. It is a nice counting book which exposes readers to different people & elements that are part of a rocket launch. It is also a very inclusive book with men and women of different ethnicity portrayed. At the end of the book is one long page and you can see the finished product the rocket ship. Children are engaged with this book counting the hidden numbers on their free time. Children are learning one-to-one correspondence and seeing that it takes a team to create a rocket launch. I would use this during a small group activity that focuses on counting.
March 30, 2022
Tips and Activities:
This is a nonfiction counting down math book. A short explanation to the children may be needed to let them know that counting down means counting backwards from 12, in this case. You could practice counting down pointing to the numbers on a number chart if it is available.
Look for the hidden number in the illustration on each page!
Count the items on each page.
On one of the last pages there is a list of Fun Facts: Share a few with them.
Sing “Zoom, zoom, zoom” - Count back from 12, just like in the book!

Questions to Ask:
What’s inside the trucks?
What do the radars do?
Would you like to be an astronaut? Where would you go?
Profile Image for Barbara.
1,151 reviews
June 30, 2013
Here's a fun little book that counts backward from 12 during the preparation for the launch of a rocket. In On the Launch Pad by Michael Dahl, younger space fans will enjoy exploring the simple colorful illustrations by Derrick alderman and Denise Shea. Fun Facts and a list of hidden numbers can be found on the back page. There is a website listed as well where you can find websited related to the book.
Profile Image for Round Lake Area Public Library.
209 reviews19 followers
September 29, 2015
Kids love rockets and space and this is a great book that shows how the rockets are prepared for launch. The colors and illustrations are simple yet fun and kids will enjoy the countdown to liftoff.

This is a great book that works on counting but instead of counting up this book counts down which is a nice change for kids. Another thing kids can do with this book is find the hidden numbers throughout the pages. This is a great book for toddlers to enjoy.
112 reviews1 follower
April 29, 2011
On the Launch Pad is a wonderful counting book about rockets. I liked how at the end of the book it offers fun facts and tell you about the other counting books in this series. I would recommend this book to children aged 3-6.
Profile Image for Gianina.
102 reviews2 followers
February 25, 2016
Good counting practice, the simplicity of the illustration allows kids to focus on counting each object while still learning space vocab. I liked how there was the written number as well as the number printed on each page.
70 reviews1 follower
October 5, 2016
This book is about how rockets are prepped and how they launch. I enjoyed this book because it explains in very basic terms how a rocket gets ready for blast off. I would use this book to talk to younger children and help them begin to understand how the rocket blasts off.
Profile Image for Msjennifers Corner.
166 reviews4 followers
May 22, 2013
Cute for early readers. The hiding numbers add a little to the sparseness of the text.
Profile Image for Yvonne.
17 reviews
June 23, 2014
we are still getting the hang of this book and all it has to offer, but it's very creative
Profile Image for Aaron.
71 reviews12 followers
March 8, 2018
A simple but elegant book to help kids learn how to count down from 12 to blastoff. The illustrations are great and the people shown working at launch facility (technicians, engineers, astronauts, etc) are a mix of races and genders.
Displaying 1 - 28 of 28 reviews

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