Life on Mars

An astronaut sets off all alone to Mars to prove that there is life there. Everybody at home thinks he’s crazy, nobody believes there’s life on the Red Planet, but the astronaut is so sure he will find something – anything – that he brings a wrapped box of chocolate cupcakes as a present. Surely whoever might be on Mars would be friendly to a lonely astronaut bearing cupcakes?

But Mars is dark and cold, and the astronaut begins to think that he’ll never find anyone to eat his cakes. Consumed by self doubt, our hero declares his mission a disaster, ditches his baked goods and decides to go home. There’s only one problem, he can’t remember where he parked his spaceship. Could the Red Planet’s giant red alien help him out? Does the astronaut even realise he’s being followed? Could there actually be life (and friendship) on Mars?

Jon Agee, the illustrator and author of one of my favourite books of the last few years The Wall in the Middle of the Book, has produced with Life On Mars a touching and witty story, full of charming, out-of-this-world illustrations that somehow manage to be reminiscent of both Hergé and Chris Haughton (with a healthy dash of Jon Klassen thrown in) at the same time.