Teddy’s Best New Picture Books of 2018, #4: Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover by Markus Motum
I’ll be counting down my favorite new picture books of 2018 all month. Number 4 on that list is “Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover” by Markus Motum by Candlewick Press in Somerville, Massachusetts.
Like dinosaurs and trains, space is one is those topics that many children get obsessed with between the ages of 3-10. Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover by Markus Motum is a great book for young space enthusiast and or a book that could spark a young child’s interest in space.
Instead of being a straight non fiction book, the book makes Curiosity an Anthropomorphic character who tells their story from a first person perspective. That being said, this book is not fiction. It tells the story of the mars rover accurately and astronomer Stuart Atkinson was used an expert consultant.
The illustrations and design of the book draw the reader in and show an attention to detail by Motum. For instance, on a page that describes the length of the journey to mars, the number 350,000,000 miles is written in huge font next to an illustration of the earth which reinforces the size of the distance in a fun way. Diagrams in the book give a detailed overview of Curiosity and a previous Mars Rover. The page where the rocket that carries Curiosity lifts off is a two page illustration that you need to turn sideways which makes the blast off all the more fun. ( In my experience as a prek teacher, kids love it when books need to be turned sideways)
The text balances both the needs of the target audience of young readers and the need to scientifically accurate. The book is written with an economy of words as not too overwhelm young readers but also provides young children with proper scientific terminology and scaffolds the reader to help them understand unfamiliar terms. In addition the book has a glossary of terms and a time line of Mars rovers to give further context for readers in back. The book ends with a quote from Clara Ma that will no doubt inspire future curious scientists.