Good Night, Oppy!

by James McGowan (Author) Graham Carter (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Learn all about the Mars Opportunity Rover Oppy in this fictionalized account of the space exploration robot's time on the red planet. Mixing humor with solid space and rover facts, this picture book gives an inside look into Opportunity's time on Mars.

An interplanetary detective, Oppy spent 15 years on the red planet taking thousands of pictures and making groundbreaking discoveries that she transmitted to scientists and engineers back on Earth. From joyriding on Olympus Mons, to racing away from a treacherous dust storm, Oppy's adventure in space--combined with her grit and perseverance--will inspire and educate young readers of all ages.

Publisher's Weekly

Like all the other unicorns, the mythical protagonist at the center of this story by Root (Hamsters Don’t Fight Fires!) and Kraan (Something’s Wrong! A Bear, a Hare, and Some Underwear) has a lavishly curly mane and tail. But instead of living a life of unrelenting frivolity like her peers ("spectacular leaps over shimmering rainbows... splashing majestically in mountain waterfalls"), Fern is a STEM superfan who prefers chemistry, programming, and solving problems. Shunned and teased, Fern still chooses to be a mensch: she is "smart, a good friend, and always willing to help others." Eventually fed up, Fern understandably hesitates when the other unicorns realize they need her know-how to save the Sparkle Dance, but her good heart prevails, and the others are so impressed by her skills that they become STEM converts, too. Thematic repetition makes this tale less than subtle, and its message-practicing generosity in the face of being mistreated-strikes an unfortunate note. But Kraan’s extravagantly imagined wood block illustrations offer a feast of rainbow colors and subtle textures that are filled with lovely details, from the tiny red mushrooms by Fern’s front door to her zero-gravity ice-cream machine. Ages 3-8. 

Copyright 2021 Publisher’s Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"A valedictory tip of the hat to the Opportunity rover...(a) timely addition considering that interest in sending new probes—and people—to the red planet is ramping up." —Kirkus Reviews

"For more than 14 years, the Opportunity rover on Mars followed instructions from NASA scientists and sent back information. McGowan lightly fictionalizes the rover's story, while Carter's dynamic digital artwork brings Oppy to life as an appealing character on an important mission. An attractive picture book introducing the Mars Exploration Program."—Booklist

James McGowan
James McGowan is an author and also a literary agent at BookEnds Literary Agency. Good Night, Oppy! is his debut picture book. He lives in Staten Island, NY. Visit

Graham Carter is an illustrator who has worked as the director of an animation studio and had a successful career in commercial illustration, with his prints being exhibited in galleries worldwide. He lives in Seaford, England. Visit
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Astra Young Readers
Publication date
September 20, 2021

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