Despite its early grade length and style, Baird’s language may be too advanced for a young audience. Words like “communicator,” “rehydrated,” “tardigrade,” and “rover” may require some extra explanation, and even the most precocious children (and their parents!) are unlikely to know that a “hab” is an artificial Martian living habitat. But despite (and perhaps because of) the book’s sophistication, Baird also provides a unique educational opportunity for kids interested in space travel. The storyline is simple to follow without being simplistic, and the illustrations provide helpful cartoons of interplanetary settings and items.
Some of the written structure and rhymes in the book are imperfect (for example, iron and Saturn). But the illustrations are colorful, clean, and professional, offering welcome, eye-catching renditions of Martian landscape, many of those complex terms, and the hab’s fascinating interior. The pages without illustration are near blank, which is jarring; if anything, even more emphasis on art would elevate the work. The drawings aren’t always well-integrated into the e-book (some of the landscape style pages are cut off at odd places), but the design on the close-ups is flawless. This is a well-drawn, well-executed, humorous book with a scientific spin, perfect for children interested in space exploration or general STEM.
Takeaway: This update of a beloved bedtime story combines humor, science, and interplanetary travel, perfect for budding astronauts.
Great for fans of: Tony Mitton and Ant Parker’s Roaring Rockets, Clayton Anderson’s Letters from Space.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: A-