Throughout July, GeekMom is preparing for the planned launch of the Perseverance rover on July 20th with Mars Month, a month filled with Mars-themed content. Be sure to follow the Mars Month tag to find all of this month’s content so far in one place. Today I am reviewing Mars’ First Friends by Susanna Leonard Hill, illustrated by Elisa Paganelli.
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Mars’ First Friends is a picture book that depicts an anthropomorphized Mars as one of eight planetary siblings. Mars is sad, bored, and lonely and longs for a pet of his own. His dad (the Sun) reminds him that pets are a big responsibility that need to be kept in orbit and sends him out to play with one of his siblings. However, all his siblings are too busy or tired. Uranus and Neptune have Pluto to play with, Saturn is busy playing hoops with her rings, Jupiter has his moons to juggle, Venus has a temperature and doesn’t feel well, Mercury is too little, and Earth has her humans to take care of, so Mars has no one to play with.
It’s then that Mars receives a present, two little rovers who fly over to play on his surface. They tickle as they drive in and out of his craters, have fun collecting his rocks, and play in the dust storms he creates. Mars loves his new pets and is excited to one day have even more to play with.
Mars’ First Friends is an adorable book with ridiculously cute illustrations from Elisa Paganelli. Spirit and Opportunity are just so precious with their big eyes and smiles as they scamper about Mars’ surface together, and Mars himself will bring a smile to your face as he goes from sad and lonely to happy and joyous thanks to his new friends.
The story itself is, of course, anything but factual. However, it does give a good introduction to the planets of our solar system and also to the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity who feature here, which will hopefully inspire many more in-depth conversations. At the end of the book are some facts about all the planets (and Pluto) with an extra detailed look at Mars. There are also a few paragraphs about all the Mars rovers to date and some photos of them too. All the information here is simple enough for parents and children to share together but detailed enough to serve as a jumping-off point for further discussion.
Mars’ First Friends will be a great read for young astronomers and for parents who want to explain about the new Perseverence rover to younger children. Be sure to check out the sister book Moon’s First Friends by the same team as well.
GeekMom received a copy of this book for review purposes.