You Are The First Kid On Mars by Patrick O'Brien
|You Are The First Kid On Mars by Patrick O'Brien|
|Category: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A great eye-opening ride for a young explorer, and a great eye-opening read for the budding armchair astronaut.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 32||Date: May 2009|
Once again, the clue is in the title. This book addresses you as a young lad who gets on a space elevator, journeys from the space station on the other end, then docks above, and lands on, Mars, before exploring for a time. It successfully depicts a lot of details about the futuristic life the author/illustrator has dreamt for us up there, and does a lot to put us in the shoes of the juvenile astronaut.
It is a sci-fi future of no danger whatsoever, with no technological breakdown, and no fatal meteor strike, but that of course is only to be expected for this market. I say it more to highlight how well the book has been illustrated. Digital airbrush techniques and more have taken the antiseptic sheen off the whole experience, but have still allowed for a great detail in the machinery, and also a lovely warmth in the face of the lad we're empathising with.
The layout can look a little busy on first browse - there are several instances of multi-panel pages, but the story flows finely, from the details of the journey to the double-page spread of touchdown. Once there there are copious details to take in - the habitats of the scientists and what they're doing, what craft and robots accompany them, and more.
The scenario perfectly matches the thread of the story with the educational detail, and never tries to over-dramatise what would of course be a thrilling experience. It'll put a young reader - who would need little help with the language (although why two font sizes were needed I don't know) - firmly in the place of the Martian explorer that - you never know - they may just grow up to be.
I must thank the kind Putnam people for my review copy.
I am sure this will lead to an interest in more facts about space, and Voyage Across The Cosmos by Giles Sparrow is probably the best place to find them.
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You can read more book reviews or buy You Are The First Kid On Mars by Patrick O'Brien at Amazon.com.
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