Grades 3-5. A treatment of the attacks of September 11 relying heavily on illustration was inevitable, and something readers could anticipate with a mixture of hopefulness and trepidation. Thankfully, Brown’s take, an entry in his Actual Times series, is a model of straightforward, earnest nonfiction writing that brings things to many an uncomfortable point—that cannot be avoided—without going too far. This is not a book about motives: “Al-Qaeda hated America’s power and influence” is about all we get for a backdrop. Brown instead focuses upon the minute-by-minute progression of the attacks, from the initial pandemonium to the firefighters’ attempt at rescue, along the way working in mini stories of various survivors and heroes. Brown’s emotive watercolors keep faces indistinct, though there is no doubt that some of the images are frightening: the fireball blooming in the lobby of the North Tower, people hanging out of blasted upper windows, the two-page spread of black smoke that blots out all else. This is not transcendent, but that is all right; that this solid, well-sourced book makes no major missteps is a wonderful thing in itself.