seeing red 9781404839533

Seeing Red: The Planet Mars
Written by Nancy Loewen
Illustrated by Jeff Yesh

Publisher: Picture Window Books
ISBN: 978-1-4048-3953-3
Ages: 7-12

Seeing red, makes me think of strawberry licorice, a fire engine racing down the street, a ladybug, a plump, juicy tomato, and, of course, Mars. Mars the fourth planet from the sun is called the “red” planet.  And there’s a good reason for that. Its soil contains the reddish metal called iron. Mars can be seen in the night sky from Earth with the naked eye. It’s our neighbor.

Mar’s landscape is similar to that of Earth. It has rolling hills, canyons, and mountains. It has north and south poles and they are cold, really cold. But, then most of the planet, Mars, is cold. It is pretty far from the sun, you know. Its temperature can be as cold as minus eighty degrees. Brrr! I’m not packing my swimsuit for a vacation there anytime soon. And even if I did, it would be a pretty lonely time. Scientists believe there is no life on Mars—at least they haven’t found any yet. So, all those stories you might have heard about aliens or Martians . . . well don’t believe them.

But, you can believe the cold, hard facts that you read in Seeing Red The Planet Mars written by Nancy Loewen and illustrated by Jeff Yesh. You can believe that Mars has many dust storms and that it is a very bright light in the night sky. You can believe that two moons, called Deimos and Phobos orbit Mars. You can believe that a Martian day is just thirty-seven minutes longer than an Earth day, but a Martian year is nearly twice as long as an Earth year. Go ahead believe!

And if you ever hear about Marslings or Earthtians . . . well, that’s a different story. Keep an open mind and ask any of Mrs. Figurski’s Kiddles.

This review can also be seen on: Smartwriters .

FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group

“I liked Seeing Red,” said Timmy.

“It’s not a storybook,” said Ethan. “It is an informational book.”

Timmy nodded. “Because it tells you about the planet.”

“That means it is nonfiction. It tells you about Mars, the fourth planet from the sun,” continued Ethan.

“And it tells you why the planet is red,” said Timmy.

“The reason why Mars is red, Timmy, is because it’s the color of rust,” said Jewel.
It is made out of iron and metal, so it looks red.”

“What I like is that it’s different from every other planet,” said Jewel, “because it’s red and not any other planet would be all red.”
“Well, there are other planets,” said Mikaela, “like Earth. Earth is blue and green. The blue stands for water and the green stands for land.”

“Earth is the third planet in outer space,” added Callie.

 “And, Mars is the fourth planet from the sun,” said Johnny.

Mikaela nodded. “Scientists found that Mars was too cold for people to live on,” she said. “I wonder why it’s so cold on Mars.”

“Because its so far away from the sun,” explained Andreo.

Mars is the last inner planet,” said Jewel. “The other four are called outer planets.
Inner means they’re closer to the sun. Outer means they are farther.”

“It’s really freezing on Mars,” said Timmy.

“It’s minus 80˚,” said Mikaela.

“That means 80˚ below zero,” explained Timmy.

Andreo nodded. “Negative 80˚,” he added.

“It means very, very cold,” said Johnny in a very, very, serious voice.

“I would have to put on ten snowsuits,” said Callie and everybody laughed.

“Mars is the same temperature as our South Pole,” said Jewel.

“Very, very cold,” said Johnny again.

“Mars has two moons,” said Andreo, “Deimos and Phobos.”

“In 50 million years one of the moons is going to fall down . . . and hit Mars,” said Johnny.

“ And . . . destroy Mars,” added Andreo.

“Good thing . . . Mars is a lifeless planet,” said Jewel. “It doesn’t have life, air, water, food, or people,” she explained.

“But . . . of all of the planets we know, Mars is most likely to be home to extra-terrestrial life, or aliens,” said Ethan.

“Like Mrs. Figurski,” said Andreo and everyone giggled.

“Yeah, said Mikaela. “Our first grade teacher, Mrs. Figurski, said she’s a Marsling . . . but I don’t believe that!”

“She is a Marsling!” Andreo added with a laugh.

Johnny shook his head. “I don’t think so,” he said, but he didn’t look entirely convinced.

“She always said that I’m an Earthtian . . . and I don’t believe that either,” said Mikaela with conviction.

“There IS nothing on Mars,” said Callie and then she closed the book.


WE’RE GOING ON A MARS TRIP: Language Arts/ Reading/ Science

Okay, so I know people don’t live on Mars. There’s no water to drink or air to breathe, but I can pretend, can’t I? So . . . I’m heading to Mars and I’m going to take one thing from each letter of the alphabet.

  • Make a list of each letter of the alphabet. Place one letter on each line. (See below)
  • Have children work in groups of two, three, or four.
  • Give each group one alphabetical list.
  • Children will work together to decide what they can bring on their trip to Mars.

(Some letters are pretty hard. See examples below.)

Air     Blankets; Boots; Batteries     Candles that Burn Oxygen; Camera     Doctor     Electricity     Flashlights; Flares     Gloves     Helmets     I-pod; Ice Cream      Jump Rope     Kite     Light     Magnets     Night Goggles     Oxygen     People     Questions     Rover     Snowsuit; Space Suit     Telescope; Tents     Underwear     Variety of Ropes     Water     Xylophone     Yellow Rubber Ducky     Zippered Spacesuits

TRIVIA COMPrehension: Language Arts/ Reading/ Science

There are a lot of facts about Mars . . . and some myths, too. But let’s concentrate on the facts . . . just the facts.

  • Children can work in groups of two or three.
  • Each group should locate at least five interesting facts in the book, Seeing Red The Planet Mars.
  • Have them write their facts down on paper. (Examples below)
  • Then ask each group to write questions to correlate with their answers.Type the facts and the questions into a computer and print.
  • Cut apart each fact and question.
  • Glue the facts onto 4” x 6” orange colored construction paper. (or any color you wish) (laminate for durability) (save on a 1” loose leaf ring)
  • Glue the questions onto 4” x 6” green colored construction paper. (or any color you wish) (laminate for durability) (save on a 1” loose leaf ring)
  • Next, split the class in half. Give one half of the class a fact card. Give the other half a correlating question card.
  • Then have one team read a question card while the other team answers with a fact card.
  • Then switch it about and ask the fact cards first.
  • Have fun and learn something interesting about Mars.
A Martian day takes 24 hours and 37 minutes.
Mars was named after the Roman god of war.
Mar’s soil contains iron.

How long is a Martian day?
Who was Mars named after?
What kind of metal is in Mar’s soil?


(Although I examined these websites and found them to be very helpful, please use them at your own discretion.)

National Geographic Kids Destination: Mars
Mars “The Red Planet”
Astronomy or Kids
Mars Information for Kids
Field Trip to Mars Just for Kids
National Aeronautics and Space Administration Mars Adventure


Planet Mars written by Seymour Simon
Mars written by Steven L. Kipp
A Look at Mars written by Mary R. Dunn
Our Solar System Mars written by Dana Meachen Rau
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