Five paw prints! It's 1962, the beginning of a new school year, and Franny has a lot on her mind. Her teacher seems to be ignoring her no matter how hard she tries to be noticed, her older sister seems to have run away from home, her mother seems to be on edge all the time, her brother only wants to read a book about atoms, her uncle (a veteran who fought in World War I) in losing his mind, and her father is rarely around because he is an Air Force officer assigned to the president of the United States. All of this wouldn't be so bad if the United States wasn't so scared about the Soviet Union trying to bomb the United States, starting with Washington D.C., which is where Franny and her family lives. Franny is constantly having to practice duck and cover drills in school and planning how to live in a bomb shelter in her house. Life couldn't get any worse, or could it? Did I mention Franny's best friend isn't speaking to her, a cute boy just moved in across the street, and she has just been invited to her first boy/girl party? Franny just knows that if she lives until Halloween her life MIGHT get better. This book was very interesting. Not only was the story so good I had a hard time putting it down, but all the pictures between some of the chapters were great. Throughout the book there are pictures and quotes from the time of the Cold War which is the time when Franny is in school. The Cold War was a time when the United States and the former Soviet Union were just waiting for a war between the two countries to start, and people in both countries were living their lives in fear. There are pictures of duck and cover drills, government officials, musicians, athletes, and quotes from many famous and important people from this time period. It really helped to have an idea of what Franny was experiencing in school. If you like this book and you want to read other books by this author then visit http://www.deborahwiles.com/ or visit the official Countdown website at http://scholastic.com/COUNTDOWN.