Mousetronaut Goes to Mars

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Mousetronaut Goes to Mars Book Poster Image
Mouse saves mission in great tale for space buffs.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value
The story and illustrations are a realistic portrayal of the space program. Facts about Mars and space travel are woven into the tale, and illustrations show some of the practicalities of life in space, such as being strapped down to sleep. A four-page afterword is packed with information about Mars and NASA's projects, though the writing style there is better suited to older readers. 
 
Positive Messages
No one is too small to be a hero.
 
Positive Role Models & Representations
Meteor works very hard to try to earn a place aboard the rocket. Although he sneaks aboard without permission, he stays out of the way until he might be helpful. The astronauts work as a team and find a way to put Meteor's particular skills to good use. 
 
Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Meteor is a stowaway in Mousetronaut Goes to Mars, the sequel to astronaut Mark Kelly's first picture book, Mousetronaut. He doesn't face any consequences for sneaking onto the spacecraft and ends up being celebrated as a hero for saving the mission. As in Mousetronaut, Kelly presents a vivid, realistic peek into the space program through Meteor's eyes.
 

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What's the story?

Meteor the Mousetronaut has been training hard for the journey to Mars aboard the Galaxy Rocket -- but his name isn't on the crew list. Meteor worries that NASA forgot about him and, desperate to join the adventure, sneaks aboard and stays hidden during the long journey. But as the astronauts prepare to go to the surface, they discover the lander's engines aren't working properly.

Is it any good?

MOUSETRONAUT GOES TO MARS offers an authentic peek into the space program, thanks to the experience of author Mark Kelly, who was commander of space shuttle Endeavour's final mission. C.F. Payne's lovely illustrations bring readers aboard the rocket with the crew, adding layers of details attentive children will enjoy. The story is sweet and simple -- an unlikely hero saves the day -- but the real pleasure is going along for the ride with the crew.
 
Kelly includes an information-packed afterword that covers everything from the earliest star maps depicting Mars to the challenges facing a manned mission to Mars. This illuminating section is too dense for young readers, but adults or older siblings probably will learn a few things they can share with younger readers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Meteor proves so important to the mission. Do you think he was right to sneak aboard the rocket?
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  • What do the pictures tell you about life on a spacecraft?
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  • Would you want to be part of a mission to Mars? Why or why not?
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