Twenty-One Steps: Guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier By Jeff Gottesfeld; Illustrated by Matt Tavares

By Jeff Gottesfeld    

Illustrated by Matt Tavares

Twenty-One Steps is a beautifully written and beautifully illustrated non-fiction picture book for all ages of readers.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is in Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, D.C. Three interned soldiers, one each from World War I, World War II and the Korean War represent thousands of unidentified fallen soldiers who died making the ultimate sacrifice for our nation’s and other nations’ freedoms.
24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in all weather conditions, elite sentinels patrol the tomb; they are the Tomb Guards.  Their uniforms, postures, rifles, the 21 steps they take in several directions, and the 21-second pauses they take between their walks must be perfect to honor the unknown soldiers they so steadfastly guard.
There is so much to learn in this well-researched book so lovingly crafted by the author and illustrator.  Were there always Tomb Guards to patrol the tomb? Why is there not an unknown soldier to represent the Vietnam War? What is the connection between 11-11-11 and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier?  What does the angle of their gun placement signify? What do they recite? Etc.
Beware!  Twenty-One Steps may make you teary.  But … reading it is but a small tribute to honor our unknown soldiers who gave their lives in the line of duty for freedom…and could not even be identified.

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