Title: Escape to Mars
Author: Greg Krehbiel
Publisher: Crowhill Publishing
Having the ability to tell a good story is a wonderful gift. In Greg Krehbiel’s Escape to Mars, he not only accomplishes this goal in relating to young children but teaches them a little about space, Mars and the sometimes awkward phase of growing up.
This one hundred and seventy two page paperback has a well-detailed, painted picture of a boy and girl crying as a space shuttle is getting ready to take off on the front cover and a paragraph about the book with a hand-drawn characterization of the author and sentence about him on the back. Also on the back is a photograph of the cover’s designer, Bethany Crowley, and a sentence about her.
There is no profanity or overly mature situations in this book so it would be acceptable for elementary to pre-teen ages. However, there are several capitalization issues (my Dad), misspellings (vaccuum), punctuation and poor language and sentence structures (page 1 “it weren’t Mom’s cooking) that it would not be considered a good writing example for a young age group.
This charming story is about ten year olds Billy and Amber whose parents along with a few others plan an escape to Mars on NASA’s space shuttle because the earth is supposedly to be sucked into a black hole that Billy’s dad erroneously created. They take off to space to get away from the expected turmoil, dock with a space station to pirate supplies and then carefully land on Mars to start a new colony. When they cannot return to earth, they realize that a mad scientist planned the trip for ulterior motives.
Since the story is written in first person by each of the two children, the fonts cleverly switch back and forth, depending who is writing, to aid the reader and enhance the story line. If it is Amber’s insecure fear of Billy not liking her or Billy’s observations of improving their onboard goats’ lives or devising plans on ways to land the shuttle on Mars, both tell their separate feelings and personal perspectives as they venture permanently to their new world.
Except for the grammar, punctuation or typographical imperfections and the questioning of the children’s maturity (taking geometry, chemistry and botany as a ten or eleven year old), this is a wonderful, sometimes funny read for children who will in no doubt look forward to the next episode of Billy and Amber’s adventures in space.