Roberto’s dad speaks in Spanish when he gets upset, and boy, is he unhappy today! His lucky chair—the one he sits in to watch his beloved New York Yankees play—is missing. And he needs it for the afternoon game against the Red Sox!
Roberto is excited, too. He’s about to take off to Mars on his home-made rocket ship, and his dad’s lucky chair makes a perfect pilot’s seat. When his father finds that the missing chair has become part of the rocket ship in the backyard, he grudgingly tells Roberto he can use it—for now. But it needs to be returned before game time.
Roberto’s dad is skeptical about the rocket ship. “You might have a problem getting off the ground,” he says. “You’re forgetting one little thing—you don’t have an engine!” Soon, he finds himself invited along as co-pilot. And during the exciting flight to Mars, Roberto helps his father rediscover his imagination as they experience an amazing blastoff, wayward asteroids, and even weightlessness.
When they finally land, Roberto surprises his father with two baseball gloves and a ball. “Today’s baseball game is on Mars,” he tells his dad. After spending the day playing catch, father and son realize that they speak the same language on the Red Planet. And his dad doesn’t even mind that he missed the Yankees’ game!
Children ages 4-8 will want to embark on their own mission to Mars after reading this story that combines vibrant illustrations with a touching story about a father and son’s afternoon adventure.
Named to the 2010-2011 Tejas Star Reading List
Named to the Volunteer State Book Award Master Reading List
Named to the “Read on Wisconsin” Recommended Reading List
Finalist – Benjamin Franklin Award
“Reminiscent of Ezra Jack Keat’s Regards to the Man in the Moon…The subtle message of the importance of a parent’s role in a child’s creative play blends seamlessly with the simpler theme of a son’s love for his father.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Readers learn how a simple game of catch between father and son can become an event of cosmic proportions. Color illustrations add flavor and dimension … a satisfying read.”—School Library Journal
RAFAEL RIVERA, JR. was born and raised in the Bronx, the setting for this story. He is a New York City firefighter stationed in Spanish Harlem. He has two young daughters with whom he hopes to build rocket ships. He is a lifelong New York Yankees fan, but does not have a lucky chair to sit in.
TIM HOPPEY is a New York City firefighter stationed in Spanish Harlem. He is the author of a bilingual picture book, Tito, the Firefighter / Tito, el bombero (Raven Tree Press, 2005). He lives on Long Island with his wife and three children.
Born to multicultural parents overseas, CHRISTINA RODRIGUEZ grew up as a military “brat” and loved to read, draw, and paint. A good book and her art supplies were always on hand as she moved from place to place. Christina excelled in her studies and later attended the Rhode Island School of Design, where she graduated with a degree in Illustration.
Currently, Christina works as a freelance illustrator for many clients nationwide. Her vibrantly colored illustrations can be seen in the bilingual picture books Baseball on Mars / Beisbol En Marte (Piñata Books, 2009), Somos Primos / We Are Cousins (Piñata Books, 2007), Un dia con mis tias / A Day with my Aunts (Piñata Books, 2006), and Mayte and the Bogeyman / Mayte y el Cuco (Piñata Books, 2006), as well as The Antarctic Express (Atlas Games, 2009), The Wishing Tree (Elva Resa Publishing, 2008), Storm Codes (Windward Publishing, 2007), and Boon the Raccoon and Easel the Weasel (Multicultural Publications, 2005). She paints primarily in a mixture of watercolors, watercolor pencils, and gouache, but she also loves to create “mixed digital” illustrations with graphite and Adobe Photoshop. Her work has been recognized by the Midwest Booksellers Association, ForeWord Magazine, the Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards, and the Mom’s Choice Awards.
When not illustrating, promoting her books, or meeting delightful young readers during school visits, Christina actively volunteers with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She also enjoys dabbling in graphic design, creating items such as note cards for nature centers, logos, and wedding invitation ensembles. In her spare time, Christina loves cooking authentic Mexican cuisine, hula-hooping, and hiking along the St. Croix River. She and her husband live with their dog in historic Stillwater, Minnesota.
ATOS Interest Level: Lower Grades
Category: Picture Book
ATOS English: 3.2
ATOS Spanish: 3.5
LEXILE SPANISH: 570L
Accelerated Reader Quiz #: 133831