Mr Chicken Goes to Mars
A&U Children’s, 2023
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
Mr Chicken has been everywhere – Paris, London, Rome, and all over Australia. But now, tired of being at home swamped by boring, everyday household chores, he is ready for a new adventure. And as he looks out at the night sky he knows just where he wants to go – Mars. So, with the help of his friend Boris the rocket builder, within a week he is off.
Undaunted by a myriad of complex levers, lights, switches and gauges, he uses his trusty guidebook to safely navigate his way past asteroids and other space travellers, and after a brief visit to a space station for lunch, he gets to his destination. But will the inhabitants welcome him or…??? Will he return safely to Earth for another adventure in the future?
For more than 10 years, the adventures of Mr Chicken have delighted young readers and led to all sorts of engaging, intriguing learning experiences – read some ideas in the linked reviews – and this one is no different. Imagine being here one day and on Mars in seven!
When Mr Chicken asked Boris to build him a rocket, he says he wants “all the comforts of home” so that could set the designers in the class planning and drawing to show just what its interior might look like, and while Hobbs has had fun with naming all the gidgets and gadgets the linguists could not only work out what they are for but suggest new ones (with labels) for the class models. Those with a penchant for space travel could investigate the history of its exploration, the astronomers could identify, explore and explain asteroids, planets, stars and even Mars itself, while the practical thinkers could investigate what is currently happening in travel to Mars. The writers could dream up Mr Chicken’s next adventure to another planet and the illustrators could bring that to life.
And all the while, everyone is enjoying this new adventure with this intrepid explorer as he enriches their learning and lives in a way that few ever do.