Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer


You Are The First Kid On Mars by Patrick O'Brien

Growing up during the heyday of the Space Race, my mind was constantly filled with stars and other solar systems. Back in the 1970s, we were told that we’d be working on Mars. We were supposed to put a man on the Red Planet by 1985. There were ship models and suits and geographical mockups of what we’d find there. It was so cool.

Then somewhere in the 1990s, all of those plans and dreams seemed to fade away. Ben Bova still writes great science fiction and I still enjoy his novels because they make me feel like I’m in space.

But Patrick O’Brien brings that same feeling of space travel to life in his photo-realistic images in You Are The First Kid On Mars. When I finished the book for young readers, I immediately went back through it again, and this time I lingered over the pages. Since the book is written for the juvenile crowd, reading it twice in a single sitting didn’t take long, and it was a pleasure, not a hardship. In fact, as I’m writing this review I can’t help but go back through the book and marvel at what the author has accomplished.

I love the hardware in the book. The space elevator definitely intrigues me. I’ve read about them before, but O’Brien’s illustrations of how they work and his young voyager traveling through it is awesome. Then there are the ships, the drones, the robots, and the living quarters.

Mars remains center stage throughout the pictures. The red color stands out boldly on the page, or bleeds in from a corner, letting you know the Red Planet is just off to one side. The two-page spread of the landing on Mars and the young voyager’s first steps planetside is fantastic. You can lose yourself in that image alone.

If you’re looking for a book for your young astronomer or hopeful space pioneer, You Are The First Kid On Mars is a great gift. Although it’s designed to deliver a lot of information, including a two-page info piece, I’ll bet the kids who pick this one up will start dreaming of possibilities. Maybe they’ll be the ones to reach the stars.


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