Children’s Book Review: The Rocket that flew to Mars by Audrey Sauble
Travel through outer space and explore a nearby red planet – where a truck builds a solar-powered house maintained by a robot.
Learn important facts about building a colony on Mars in this space-age retelling of “The House that Jack Built.” But watch out! Space exploration comes with a few suprises, too!
Reading books with your children is crucial to help develop early literacy skills. When a children’s book uses repetition and rhymes, this allows children to anticipate the text, learn the story, and participate in the reading experience with ease and confidence. These are the perfect books to help build foundational literacy skills that children will use for all of their lives.
It is also beneficial for children to read the same story a couple of times a week to help children remember new words and increase their vocabulary. So if re-reading a story is useful for learning new words and enhancing reading skills, then surely reading a story filled with repetition is beneficial too!
The Rocket that Flew to Mars by Audrey Sable is a cumulative children’s story that builds by adding and repeating the past information throughout the book. The story starts as the rocket travels to Mars and as the story progresses, your little ones will learn how a truck builds a house that is pressurized by an air system that is powered by a solar array and maintained by a robot.
The repetition in this book makes this story predictable, something that is extremely valuable to new readers. The repetitive text allows children to read with confidence and to explore space and discover how life on Mars might be if we colonize it.
The Rocket that Flew to Mars by Audrey Sable is a lovely rhythmic book that continually draws you into the story and has your children asking to read it over and over. I love that this book teaches children about space and science and includes helpful illustrations to understand each concept and term in the book. I also love that this book encourages children to use their imagination of what can happen on another planet in our universe!
Where Can I Find The Rocket That Flew To Mars By Audrey Sauble
Other Books Written By Audrey Sauble
About the Author, Audrey Sauble
“Audrey Sauble is a children’s author and illustrator who is obsessed with slugs, bugs, and trees—along with all other manners of green things and creepy-crawlies.
While Audrey has been writing stories for two decades (well over half her life), she only began writing children’s books after her kids were born. That’s when she ran out of time to read fantasy novels and started reading hundreds and thousands of picture books instead. Eventually, her oldest asked her a question about eggs, and Audrey decided to answer it with her picture book.”
Rapid Fire with Audrey Sauble
Q. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Audrey: I’ve always wanted to write stories. All through high school, I had plans for a massive fantasy series, but I never expected to write picture books. That changed when my oldest was a toddler because we were talking about animals that laid eggs. The conversation turned into a fun question and answer game, and I randomly decided to turn it into a book. That became my first book, Who Laid the Egg?, which I published a few months later.
Q. What does your family think of your writing?
Audrey: My family has supported me so much—my husband pushes me to keep going when I get discouraged, and I get to test new stories with my kids. My oldest is always asking if I’m working on a new book again.
Q. What was the most surprising thing you learned about creating books?
Audrey: The most surprising thing, for me, has been learning how much more work goes into a picture book compared with other books. When I started, I had friends who had published books, so I thought I knew what was involved, but it turns out that picture books are completely different. Yes, novels take a ton of work to edit, proofread, get a cover, and all, but picture books need all that, plus illustrations. They’re shorter, which makes some of the work (like proofreading!) easier, but the illustrations have to fit around the text, and most picture books are in color, so they need a different type of printing. All that adds a ton of extra details to sort out.
Q. What do you think makes a good story?
Audrey: For me, a good story starts with a question—what happens if you give a mouse a cookie? Why don’t the Durselys like Harry? What might happen when a rocket flies to Mars? The story can’t just give any old answer, though. It needs to have an element of adventure or surprise as well. That’s what builds a satisfying ending—when you get to the end, and there’s that little bit more that fits just perfectly.
Q. What advice do you have for writers?
Audrey: Read as much as you can. I know it’s a cliché, but it’s true! As a writer, you’ll need to read books about mundane details like marketing and managing a business, as well as books that inspire you and introduce you to new ideas. Both types are important if you want to grow as a writer.
I also highly recommend finding other writers, especially more experienced writers. With a writer’s group, you can see what’s possible and have someone to follow, while also sharing support and advice. I’ve found a group online that’s amazing, but many authors also meet up at libraries or coffee shops to talk in person.
Q. What type of books do you write?
Audrey: I write science and nature stories—not traditional nonfiction with a bunch of facts and sidebars, but nonfiction told as a story. I love storytelling, so for me, it makes sense to use storytelling to communicate with children.
Q. Tell us about your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Audrey: I plan to keep writing for a long time! Right now, I’m a stay-at-home mom with two kids, so it can be tricky to find time to work on things during the day. My oldest just started school, though, and it’s already getting a little easier to find the time. I’m hoping that will continue, and that I’ll be able to publish a series of nature stories over the next few years, along with a few other books I’m working on.
Q. How did you become involved in the subject or theme of your book?
Audrey: So far, I’ve written books about things that I was already interested in, or that my family is interested in. My first book happened because I had a toddler who was interested in eggs and wants to figure out who laid eggs. My husband is fascinated by space flight. Once we started watching rocket launches with him, I started wondering about the process of getting people to Mars. I started playing with ideas for that, and that turned into The Rocket that Flew to Mars. I’ve always loved trees, now I’ve got a couple of books about trees that I’m working on.
Q. Are you working on anything at the present that you would like to share with your readers about?
Audrey: For the past year or so, I’ve been working on a really fun story about a tree’s relationships—how different animals interact with it as it’s growing. I’m taking a bit of break from that this fall to work on a different, early-science story about trees and a second coloring book. I’m hoping those books go fairly quickly, and then I’ll get back to the other project.
Q. Is there a message in your novel that you hope readers will grasp?
Audrey: Go out and explore! I’ve started noticing so much about bugs since working on Bug, Bug, Spider. I’ll go outside with my kids and look through a pile of leaves to see what we can find, and there’s always something new. I want to inspire kids to explore too and to notice the world around us.
A Little More About the Illustrations
Q. Can you describe the artistic process behind your illustration creations?
Audrey: I illustrate my books, so I tend to start planning the illustrations as I work on the story. I start with an idea and play with it for a while—sometimes a few days, sometimes a few months. As the idea takes shape, I start to visualize the story as well. Sometimes it’s like watching a film short in my head, while I add mental narration.
Q. What process takes place in creating your artwork?
Audrey: By the time I’m ready to start a set of illustrations, I’ll have the pages laid out with the text, plus a simple sketch to go with the text. I spend a lot of time playing with that sketch to make sure the proportions and the perspective are right. Then I start coloring it in.
Q. Since creating artwork is your job, what kind of hobbies do you enjoy to relieve stress and help inspire your artwork?
Audrey: Honestly, I haven’t reached this point yet. Art is still very much a part-time project, so it’s always fun when I can find time to work on something. For my first book, I drew with chalk pastels, so I could only work on it at night after my kids were in bed. Since then, I’ve started working digitally, which means I can take my tablet along and work on a picture while I’m waiting. This year, I’ve done a lot of doodling while my kids are at swim lessons!
Q. Did you draw as a child?
Audrey: Yes, definitely! Especially animals. My drawings were a bit rigid, though, and I tried to make them photorealistic, so I’ve had to spend a lot of time over the past couple of years loosening up and learning how to show movement in a story.
Q. What were your favorite books growing up?
Audrey: All books! A couple of my favorites were Audrey Wood’s As Quick as a Cricket and Robert McCloskey’s Blueberries for Sal—those were the first books I made sure to get for my kids. When I was a bit older, I loved Holling C. Holling’s Tree in the Trail, as well as Pagoo and Minn of the Mississippi. I also loved Marguerite Henry’s horse stories
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All in all, my family and I have really enjoyed this book and we know you will too! Please feel free to leave me any comments or questions about this review. I look forward to hearing from you!
* This book was kindly sent to me by Author, Audrey Sauble in exchange for an honest review.