There's Nothing to Do on Mars

Fab retro pics almost save tired story.

What parents need to know

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this book has nothing more offensive than kid-whining.

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What's the story?

Davey is bored so his parents send him out to play on the barren desert planet Mars.

Is it any good?


In this preschool-targeted picture book, Davey Martin, despite being in an intergalactic family helping to settle Mars, is bored. His parents do what parents everywhere do: tell him to go outside and find something to do. So off Davey trots with his mechanical dog, Polaris, to find adventure on the dusty red planet. Kids who love everything about space would love to be in Davey's shoes, of course, but Davey's not that excited -- which is the subtle humor here.

Not subtle at all is the artistry; stand-out color-saturated tributes to style and design. From the family's Airstream rocketship to Davey's Chuck Taylors, the retro-minded story manages to be gorgeous enough to almost lift the hum-drum story. The keyword there is "almost." Despite aliens, giant fish skeletons, and a sudden flood, kids may be bored along with Davey. More style than substance makes this a hard sell to kids who want a good story and to the parents who have to read the book out loud.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what's true about Mars and what isn't. Then as long as their talking about imagination, they can pack up a picnic and head to their own version of Mars.

Book details

Author:Chris Gall
Illustrator:Chris Gall
Genre:Picture Book
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:February 1, 2008
Number of pages:32
Read aloud:4
Read alone:8

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byalcourt April 9, 2008


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