cover image Red Rover: Curiosity on Mars

Red Rover: Curiosity on Mars

Richard Ho, illus. by Katherine Roy. Roaring Brook, $18.99 (44p) ISBN 978-1-250-19833-4

In this telling, the Curiosity rover resembles a less emotionally vulnerable, less anthropomorphized, but still adorable version of Pixar’s WALL-E. “The little rover likes to roam”; it zips around Mars, taking pictures and samples because “it is curious. It wants to learn about the world around it.” Besides, as debut author Ho reminds readers, this latest in a long, noble line of satellites and rovers is actually in constant communication with “whoever sent it. It tells them what it is like here.” It’s the contrast between Curiosity’s cheery determination and the forbidding world it inhabits that gives the book its power: Roy (Otis and Will Discover the Deep) renders many evocative images, among them a sandstorm created from swirling strokes of red, orange, and gray, and a double gatefold that drives home just how vast, red, and rocky the Red Planet is. Readers may be thrown—and perhaps a little disappointed—when the point of view shifts in the final pages from the eager Curiosity to the imperious Mars itself (“They call me Mars. I am not like your World”). But ultimately, the message remains the same: no one, and nothing, in the universe is truly alone. Ages 3–6. (Oct.)■