Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover by Markus Motum
CURIOSITY: The Story of a Mars Rover
by Markus Motum
Review Copy from Candlewick Press
Story: Six years ago today, at 5:17 UTC, Curiosity landed on Mars. In his stunningly beautiful, completely engaging book, Curiosity narrates the story of its creation, from the purpose of its mission to a quote from the winning essay by then 11-year-old Clara Ma, the person who named this rover. I fell down many internet-rabbit-holes as I researched to write this review and one of my favorite was learning about Ma, who is now a senior at Yale University studying physics and political science with interest in climate science and, yes, space exploration. I definitely suggest you read this article Ma wrote in 2012 about how she came to enter the contest and why she suggested the name Curiosity.
There is a lot of information in Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover and Motum, through the voice of Curiosity, presents it in a digestible chunks, emphasizing the whys and hows that make this story so exciting and amazing. From the new technologies invented to the narrow window of time to successfully launch the rover to the amazing landing - and landing procedures - I was transfixed.
And then, after almost six months . . . I also suggest you take a couple of minutes to watch the video (below) of the JPL scientist monitoring the landing and then receiving the message (fifteen LONG minutes after the landing) indicating Curiosity was safely landed and operational. As Curiosity tells readers, all around the world, people were watching the landing. From there, Curiosity describes the research done, and how and why it's being done. Back matter includes a timeline of Mars missions, a glossary and additional information about Mars rovers.
Pictures: With a larger than normal trim size, Motum is able to encompass some of the majestic panoramas of Mars and the expanse of the control room and Times Square with his wonderful illustrations. The fact that Curiosity has a bit of Wall-E personification to it is sure to draw in younger readers and keep the reading/listening.
Why Read? Why Buy?: While Curiosity is not the first rover to make a mission to Mars, advances in science have made its mission more visible, accessible and interesting to a wider range of people than ever. With this book, Motum makes Curiosity's mission accessible to kid's who may know nothing about Mars, Curiosity or space exploration. And, knowing about Clara Ma should only add to their interest and excitement! This book is filled with fantastic information and is a great addition to any bookshelf - at home or school.