Little earthling searches for life on Mars | KALW

Little earthling searches for life on Mars

Mar 1, 2017

Have you noticed the renewed interest in interstellar exploration? Elon Musk’s Space X company has a solid offer from some people wanting an extreme Tilt-A-Whirl ride from Earth around the Moon and back (they hope). And he’s talking of colonizing Mars, perhaps inspired by the ingenuity of Matt Damon’s character in “The Martian” film a couple of years ago.

Now children’s author Jon Agee of San Francisco joins the trend with Life on Mars, an oversized picture book for the “read me a story” set.  As the boy in the book tells us, “I have traveled a long way from Earth. I am here to find life.”

After trudging through barren Martian terrain, he encounters a single blooming flower – an earthly tulip. And what does he do with the only living thing he sees on the whole planet? Being human, he plucks it and puts it under a bell jar, bringing to mind the Rose in The Little Prince.

Agee’s illustrations are reminiscent of his Lion Lessons from last year, with their basic friendliness. Even a gigantic pointy-eared creature is likeable. (That’s not a spoiler: it’s pictured on the cover.) Fortunately for ambulatory life on the Red Planet, the little explorer leaves it behind, but not before the beast makes its presence known.

Jon Agee will greet readers big and small at A Great Good Place for Books in Oakland on Sunday, March 5 at a conveniently pre-nap time of 3pm.