Author: Elizabeth Rusch
Publication Info: Houghton’s Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2012
Source: Library copy
Intended audience: ages 9 and up
Genre: nonfiction, picture book (80 pages)
Themes/topics: Mars, space, science
Opening and synopsis: “Are Martians real? As silly as it may seem, this question has driven Mars exploration for decades. People all over the world yearn to know: Is there life on Mars? If not, has there ever been life on Mars?”
As part of the “Scientists in the Field” series, Rusch follows the development of the Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers, as well as their years of exploration on Mars.
Why I like this book:
Other wonderful books about the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity exist, notably Alexandra Siy’s CARS ON MARS
. However, Rusch focuses much of her book on the team behind the Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers. She shines the spotlight on Steven Squyres, the principal science investigator, who dreamed up the rovers as “rolling geologists.” It was Squyres’s sheer grit and determination that brought this mission to fruition, after NASA turned down his proposals for eight years. Rusch shows how scientists see the rovers as extensions of themselves on Mars, truly as “scientists in the field.” Rusch also previews the Curiosity rover, which landed on the Red Planet last month, kicking off a planned two-year mission.
NASA has some incredible Web sites, games and resources for all things Mars.
Every Friday bloggers review “Perfect Picture Books.” Find a complete list of book reviews organized by topic, genre and blogger at author Susanna Leonard Hill’s site.
Published by Kirsten W. Larson
Kirsten W. Larson used to work with rocket scientists at NASA. Now she writes books for curious kids. She’s the author of WOOD, WIRE, WINGS: Emma Lilian Todd Invents an Airplane, illustrated by Tracy Subisak (Calkins Creek, 2020), A TRUE WONDER: The Comic Book Her Who Changed Everything, illustrated by Katy Wu (Clarion, 2021); THE FIRE OF STARS: The Life and Brilliance of the Woman Who Discovered What Stars are Made of, illustrated by Katherine Roy (Chronicle, 2023), THIS IS HOW YOU KNOW, illustrated by Cornelia Li (Little, Brown, 2024) and THE LIGHT OF RESISTANCE, illustrated by Barbara McClintock (Roaring Brook, 2023) along with 25 other nonfiction books for kids. She's a geek, LEGO lover, and sock enthusiast. Find her at kirsten-w-larson.com or on Twitter/Instagram @KirstenWLarson.
View all posts by Kirsten W. Larson
29 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday: THE MIGHTY MARS ROVERS”
Cool stuff! What a lot of great activities for kids who want to learn more about Mars and about space exploration in general. Thanks, Kirsten!
The book has received many wonderful reviews. I hope you can find it.
Love that NASA is the illustrator! Ha! The panoramic view is SO COOL! Love the tracks on the surface! Thanks Kirsten.
Well, I kind of fudged on the NASA bit. There was no illustrator listed, but all images are courtesy of NASA-JPL.
That is exactly what I liked!
Thanks Kirsten…what a resourceful review. Just spent 10 minutes viewing panoramic pictures of Mars. TGIF!
Isn’t it amazing?!
For some reason, I kept wondering how we would develop it if the conditions were livable. It would be kind of fun to have a blank slate.
This sounds so interesting, Kirsten, and as you know I always love getting picture books on our list for older readers. So much info packed in here, and so many great resources and activities! Thanks for sharing!
I love that the genre can serve children of so many ages. I think many children in upper elementary are still drawn to stunning pictures.
At first glance I read eating an astronaut lol. That’s my September pb taken care of ;). Sounds great!
Eating an astronaut? If this is the subject of your Sept. pb, I want to read it. Ha, ha.
Kirsten….I’m so glad you reveiwed this book because I had no idea it was out there. I am adding it to my list, and who knows…it may call for me to revise some of my manuscript about Christmas on Mars. I love to research when I write fun fiction. This is perfect!
This is a fabulous book! I really like the angle: the rovers as “scientists in the field” and the focus on the scientists on the ground. You will love it.
We can learn so much from those little rovers that have FAR exceeded and outlived their expectations. I am SO jazzed to read so many positive comments about NASA and Space Exploration. My husband works at NASA as a planetary scientist and he’ll love knowing that there are educators out there who share his passion for Mars. If any of you would ever like to SKYPE in a lesson with him, feel free to drop me an email at gruenergang (@) sbcglobal.net
Wow, Barbara, that is so cool! Thanks for chiming in with this fabulous resource.
Mars Rovers are MIGHTY! 😉
And just plain cool!
I can’t WAIT to get this for my son!!
Julie, this book has received so many rave reviews. It’s a wonderful testament to exploration, persistence, overcoming obstacles, etc. And of course, it’s based on Mars, so how could you go wrong?
Boy is this hot off the press. Fantastic selection Kirsten. I wouldn’t mind owning this one. I love the science boks you share. I had a friend working for NASA too when the Hubble was sent up. Loved to listen to her. I love anything about space exploration as it just tells us more about who we are.
I could wax poetic about space exploration and how it makes us more human. But I’ll try not to. 🙂
Great book, Kirsten…I’d like to read it myself! I’ve always been fascinated with “outer space”…and the resources and activties you give are awesome! Great to be back to PPBF. 🙂
We are fascinated with space in this house too, which strongly influences our PPBF choices.
I remember when I was dating my husband…Star Trek (the original series) was our favorite TV show (well, after The Avengers, that is)…SPACE…THE FINAL FRONTIER…and it still is. 🙂
Loved this book, would have done a PPBFon it if you had not done so. Great job, Kristen! 🙂
It’s a great book. I love the whole Scientist in the Field series.
I’ll be looking for more of those, too, Kristen.
thanks so much! 🙂