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BOOK REVIEW: Curiosity, The Story of a Mars Rover by Markus Motum

BOOK REVIEW: Curiosity, The Story of a Mars Rover by Markus Motum

Walker Studio
October 2017
Hardcover, $27.99
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell

Picture Books / Illustrated Non-Fiction / Children’s Science

10/10

Meet Curiosity, a Mars rover that has rolled across the deserts of the red planet searching for clue to one of science’s greatest mysteries: has there ever been life on Mars?

Discover the story behind the most ambitious Mars mission yet with Curiosity herself as your guide. Through stunning art and fascinating diagrams, the rover takes us on a journey from the laboratory to Mars, showing just how far human curiosity has led us, and how much further it might take us still…

 

I’m a Mars rover. A rover is a moving robot, built to explore far-off place – places too far away or dangerous for humans to visit.
How did I get here? Why was I sent?
This is my story.

Anyone who’s ever looked up at the night sky and wondered what might be out there is bound to be fascinated by Curiosity and rover-kind.

 

What better way to celebrate Curiosity’s five years on Mars (to date) than with this beautifully illustrated introduction to NASA’s history and the development of the rover project?

However, Mars is a dangerous and tricky destination. By 2007, 39 missions had been launched to the red planet and over half had ended in failure. Some of these earlier missions had become lost in space, while others had crashed into Mars, never to be heard from again.

There are many things to be learnt and shared in the pages of this book, and Curiosity’s travel to the red planet, but of course the journey is not over, and our narrating rover looks forward to all the questions yet to come, and the resulting search for answers. 

There are many questions still to be answered. What was the Mars environment like long ago? How suitable was it for life? Did we once have neighbours on Mars? The tests I carry out will help provide as many answers as possible. Most likely, I will find something which leads to more questions!
Luckily, with space exploration, questions can be just as exciting as answers. Thanks to the curiosity of explorers, Neil Armstrong’s footprints are on the Moon. And now, my tyre tracks are being left on another planet. Perhaps one day soon, footprints from the next generation of explorers will join mine.

 

This is a gorgeously put-together story, full of information but not too wordy of heavy for young readers, and a great way to introduce young scientists to a little bit of space travel history (complete with a two[page spread about Apollo 11, though the majority of the book is about rover-kind and their search for answers). The ideal age for this book would likely be around 8-10, though a precocious seven-year-old did make me read this to and with her three times in one night.

There are also different levels within the text, so one might skip some of the smaller, more technical text when reading to a younger child and stick to the narrative in the larger text, but older and more advanced children (and adults) do have the additional information at their disposal, and a handy timeline at the back of the book.

Highly recommended for any science-curious children and any rover-obsessed grown-ups (like myself)!

 

BOOK REVIEW: Curiosity, The Story of a Mars Rover by Markus Motum

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