Space Monkey: Mars Mission Report
LAD Publishing – Leo, Atlas, and Dalton Lad (authors) Lana Vivchar (illustrator)
Independently Published (2022)
Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Reader Views (10/2022)
“Space Monkey: Mars Mission Report” by LAD Publishing (Leo, Atlas, and Dalton Lad), illustrated by Lana Vivchar, is a wonderfully imaginative adventure with Space Monkey celebrating our solar system.
Anyone into astronomy, physics, and space travel will instantly be drawn into the story. It’s inviting, educational, but above all, fun. The artwork is gorgeous and entertaining as well; a key ingredient to making this book work like a gem. This is a children’s book that shows how space travel has found its way into our lives, making it exciting for children and adults. The best feature of all is that it’s been created by three kids, which right away will pique the interest of any child whose interests lie in exploring space.
If you compare this book to others on the same subject, you’ll find that this one stands out for many reasons: Its fun approach, its factual but fun nature, and the illustrations. Young readers, and the young at heart, can be introduced or re-introduced to the frontier of space and a mission to Mars, based in reality. The subject matter and approach are so interesting and basic that even preschoolers can grasp it and be fascinated by it.
The writers’ sense of play and adventure really shine through the simple narrative, using words and objects children can relate to. For example, the report coming from Mars requires tools used by Space Monkey, like crayons, pencils, and pictures. Space Monkey wastes no time getting into the facts about Mars, and you feel like you’re studying the planet right along with him inside his craft. Children will learn the characteristics of the red planet, how it got its name, and other intriguing tidbits. For example, did you know that Mars is the second smallest planet in the solar system? Space Monkey is an inquisitive character that curious children can identify with, and this story, which is the first one in a series, will go a long way in fostering likeminded children to pursue the topics talked about–namely astronomy and space, but also science, physics, and exploration.
One of my favorite fun facts that Space Monkey talks about is the ability humans would have in dunking a basketball on Mars, due to the gravitational pull being weaker on that planet. This relatable example is just one of many, and the artwork that illustrates this fact and others will capture a child’s fantasy. The story is always asking questions, answering them, or playing with your imagination, especially when we find faces in the landscape. If that isn’t enough, the depictions of the wider solar system and how time is different on Mars–37 minutes longer each day to be exact. And if you want bite-size info on 2021’s Perseverance Rover and its mission to look for microbial life on Mars, it’s all here.
Whether you like facts about Mars, or just like monkeys with a cute sense of humor, you should definitely check out “Space Monkey: Mars Mission Report”, by LAD Publishing.