A planet's-eye view of some recent visitors from Earth—one in particular.
In measured, deceptively solemn prose, the narrator (Mars itself, as eventually revealed) gets off to a shaky start, observing that the rover rolls on and on, making straight tracks that confusingly become a tangle on the next page. Things settle down thereafter: “It observes. Measures. Collects. It is always looking for water. Maybe it is thirsty.” Roy matches the tone with a set of broad, rugged, achingly remote-looking Mars-scapes that culminate in a wildly swirling dust storm followed by a huge double gatefold: “Everything is… / RED as far as the eye can see. But it is beautiful.” Curiosity itself she depicts with almost clinical precision (though its wheels look different from different angles), adding a schematic view at the end with select parts and instruments labeled. Following playful nods to other rovers along the way (Spirit and Opportunity “had a spirit of adventure and seized every opportunity to explore”), a substantial quantity of backmatter includes more information about each one—including the next one up, Mars 2020—as well as about the fourth planet itself. For audience appeal it’s hard to beat Markus Motum’s cheerfully anthropomorphic Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover (2018), but the art here, in adding a certain grandeur and mystery to the red planet, has an appeal of its own.
A tad rough around the edges but, visually, at least, a keeper. (bibliography) (Informational picture book. 7-9)