LIFE ON MARS by Jennifer Brown

LIFE ON MARS

Age Range: 10 - 12
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

In a tale built on well-worn tropes and characters, Brown twists together an impending cross-country move, a budding friendship with a crusty old neighbor and some basic astronomy.

As part of a family that looks to the stars for its names, seventh-grader Arcturus Betelgeuse Chambers—Arty—knows his constellations but also believes that he can contact Martians with a contraption cobbled together from mirrors and a flashlight. His settled world is knocked askew first by the arrival of a secretive new neighbor with a spooky habit of sneaking off into the woods at night and then by the revelation that his father’s new job will require that the family move far away. The neighbor turns out to be, excitingly, Cash Maddux, an embittered ex-astronaut who never flew but still goes out to gaze at the heavens. Their shared interest brings the two together. The author outfits Arty with a comically inept friend (who learns grace at ballet school), a mom who copes with stress by baking and two stereotypical sisters with equally typecast friends to ridicule.

It may be formulaic, but the comic byplay is often nicely gross, and the science talk dovetails with current pedagogical fads. (appendix of Mars facts) (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 5th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-61963-252-3
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Walker
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2014




MORE BY JENNIFER BROWN

ChildrenTORN AWAY by Jennifer Brown
by Jennifer Brown
ChildrenPERFECT ESCAPE by Jennifer Brown
by Jennifer Brown

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenTHE GREEN GLASS SEA by Ellen Klages
by Ellen Klages
ChildrenTHE EVOLUTION OF CALPURNIA TATE by Jacqueline Kelly
by Jacqueline Kelly
ChildrenSHOOTING THE MOON by Frances O’Roark Dowell
by Frances O’Roark Dowell