Mars Needs Moms!



Martian message more for moms than kids.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Mom shows unselfish love for her son and he learns what is special about moms.

Violence & scariness

Moms are nabbed by Martians, but no real violence is shown. Milo and his mom almost run out of air on Mars.

Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that all kids may enjoy this book (which was made into a movie in 2011), though it seems aimed at kids older than recommended by the publisher. Parents may need to explain the more obtuse language as well as some of the darker cartooning. Also, the idea that Martians could kidnap a kid's mother might unnerve some.

Kids say

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What's the story?

Milo can't figure out what makes moms so special. To him, they seem like ogres whose main intent is to make his life miserable. However, a mom-nabbing attempt by Martians, a rocket trip to Mars, and a near-death experience teaches him an important lesson and answers his question once and for all.

Is it any good?


Told in language that is clever though at times too sophisticated for small kids, this book is offbeat and captivating, and the ending is a sentimental tearjerker. Older kids may relate to Milo's unhappiness with his mother, though younger kids probably won't get it. Older kids also will enjoy the mom-nabbing attempts and the rocket ride. However, the part about why the Martians need moms seems written for parents themselves.

The cartooning has the typical fun and engaging Bloom County look for which the author is famous. The darkness of the illustrations with the first section, though intriguing, may be unsettling to younger kids. But the cartooning in the rest of the book is lighter, brighter, equally as expressive, and perhaps more entertaining. The very things that make this book complicated and uneven also may make it a book that will remain of interest through many readings.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the book's complicated language with smaller kids. Why does Milo think mothers were "giant, summer-stealing, child-working, perfumy garden goblins" or "broccoli bullies" or "carrot-cuddling cuckoos"?

  • Kids will enjoy talking about the depiction of the colorful Martians and their world. Do you think creatures really live on Mars? What would they look like? Would you ever want to go to Mars? What do you think it would be like?

  • And finally, what do you think makes moms special?

Book details

Author:Berkeley Breathed
Illustrator:Berkeley Breathed
Genre:Picture Book
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:April 10, 2007
Number of pages:40
Read aloud:4
Read alone:6

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 3, 6, and 9 year old Written byMay Lillian March 28, 2011

For older kids who do not get scared by much

As an adult, I loved the pictures and laughed at the story. I knew from reading the review here that my 4-year-old son was probably too young for the story and he was. He was scared about Martians coming into the house to take moms and worried about it for the rest of the night. What surprized me was that my 6-year-old son, who I read it to separately, was also scared by the idea of mom-napping and the peril of the humans gasping for air on Mars. Afterward, he told me that he didn't want to hear it ever again. The Martians are colorful and funny-looking, not scary, so I never expected it would be so scary to them.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent of a 4 and 12 year old Written byMom818 September 30, 2010

Sweet funny read

I thought this book was witty and heartfelt. The illustrations were wonderful and both my daughter and I enjoyed reading it over and over.
What other families should know
Great messages


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