Book review: Mighty Mars Rovers

Summary: This is the story of the first two Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity.  There are numerous books about these rovers, but this book is better than most in delivering a narrative story, rather than a list of facts.

Title: The Mighty Mars Rovers
Author: Elizabeth Rusch
ISBN: 978-0544932463

The book focuses on Steve Squyres, and his picture appears in the book almost as often as the rovers! There’s nice material on failing and trying again and on testing many ideas to find the most promising, but I wonder if the author couldn’t have introduced us to some of the additional members of the team (especially any women and people of color), without disrupting the narrative).  I haven’t yet read it to my daughter (although I’m sure I will - it’s a great story), but I’m also looking for more opportunities to read stories about people other than white men doing science and engineering.

There is a lot of text.  (About two hours silent reading for this adult.). It’ll work for most middle schoolers (and adults will enjoy it, too).  The Lexile score is 950L.  The text also works as a read-aloud over multiple days - there’s much too much here for a single session, but it flows pretty well for out loud reading.

Recommendation: Buy it. But don’t make it your only book about scientists and engineers.

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