by James McGowan; illus. by Graham Carter
32 pages; ages 4-8
Boyds Mills Press, 2021
theme: Mars, exploration
Opportunity loved her job.
Opportunity was one of two rovers sent to explore Mars. She and her sister, Spirit, landed on the planet in January, 2004. In his book, McGowan endows Oppy with the voice to describe the Mars mission in her own words. And he shows how hard she worked, navigating more than 28 miles over the uneven and rocky Martian surface. She sledded down hills into craters, discovered minerals, and searched for proof of ancient watery environments. Through the marvels of NASA technology, Oppy talked with her scientists and engineers. The original mission was for 90 days, but Oppy kept on going, and going, and going for fifteen years – until a huge dust storm prevented her from recharging her solar batteries.
What I like about this book: The story is fun, and both author and illustrator give Oppy real personality. I like how Oppy is presented as an explorer, on the trail of discovery. Though a work of fiction, each page contains an additional layer of factual text filled with details to help answer questions young listeners are sure to come up with.
Yes! There is Back Matter! In the author’s note, McGowan shares some of the history of the real Oppy and reminds readers that there are two more rovers actively exploring the planet. And there are photos ~ some of Oppy’s “postcards from Mars.”
Beyond the Books:
Learn more about the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. You can find out more here, here, and here.
Make your own rover out of cardboard. Here’s how.
Pretend you are a rover. Draw a picture of what you think you would see on Mars. Then check out some of these “postcards” of images from Opportunity.
Head over to Archimedes Notebook to discover more new books about Mars and space exploration.
Today we're joining Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. Review copy provided by the publisher.