Children's Literature - Marilyn CourtotThose watching the sky in 2003 were treated to a view of Mars closer to Earth than it had been in 50,000 years. Mars is the second smallest planet in our solar system. A day on Mars is close to that on Earthjust about 39 minutes longer, however a year is almost twice as long. The red color is due to iron oxide on its surface; it also has icy caps at the poles and volcanoes, canyons, mountains and channels. It is home to the tallest mountain in the solar systemMount Mons. Mars is not habitable today because there is not enough oxygen in the air. Water and massive storms fill the air with dust and the atmosphere is too thin to repel the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation. Mars has two small moons and some astronomers believe that they are asteroids captured by Mars’ gravitational pull. The story about The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells and its later radio broadcast are given a spread along with a few other movies and television programs. Several spacecraft have orbited Mars and several have landed and sent back volumes of information. The books in this “New True Books: Space” series about the planets and Earth’s moon offer an enticing format. The first page challenges readers to find out which of two statements is true. There is an arrow that contains the text: “Find the answers in this book.” To help young readers appreciate the format of more substantial books for older readers, this one contains a content spread that lists each chapter heading followed by an intriguing question. There are also references to the back matter containing true statistics, resources, important words, an index and a brief blurb about the author. As with other books in the series there is an interesting timeline relating to the study of this planet. The answer to the question posed at the beginning of the book follows the “True Statistics” section and even the back cover contains some interesting information. The book’s generous full color photographs and illustrations help easily explain the facts. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot; Ages 8 to 10.
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