I discovered sci-fi when I was a kid. I loved Tom Swift like crazy. I read everything I could find in the junior section at the library, and there’s one book that sticks out as a favorite, but I can’t remember the title, author, or publisher. 🙁 Without those, it’s practically impossible to find. On top of that, it was written in the 1950’s (I think) which means it may not have been on the radar very long back then, let alone now. I’m saying all this so that perhaps someone will recognize the description I’m about to give, and can tell me the title.
The book follows some children as they move with their family to their new home on Mars. The book opens with the children in the space ship experimenting with taking off their magnetic boots and flying around. One kid gets whacked on the head and they get in trouble.
Their new house is made completely of plastic, so their mom can just hose everything down when she wants to clean. All the walls are transparent, so they can see the Mars-scape any time they want. Each room has two kinds of light switches, one that merely provides light, and one that emits a light to turn the walls opaque.
In one chapter their house develops a slow air leak, and they scramble to find and plug it. I don’t remember why they didn’t radio for help. The air was almost gone and they hadn’t found the leak when they thought to plug the drain in the floor. After that the air cycler could keep up and they did alright.
The main part of the story comes when the kids go on a class trip to fly over the jungles of Mars. Something happens and the ship crashes. The kids are all in space suits by the time the airlock breaks, but Our Heros get separated from the rest of the class and go exploring.
While exploring they find an abandoned underground city, built by the extinct Martians. People knew there was a Martian civilization, but there wasn’t any art, so they didn’t know what the Martians looked like. The kids found a statue in the city center. They found their way out, and were cheered as heros for finding this amazing thing and all was well.
The book was crazy fun, very “outside the box”, a great in classic sci-fi. Anyone know what it was called?
It’s called Young Visitor to Mars by Richard Mace Elam, Jr. It’s part of a series about Young People Doing Things, like riding in a covered wagon out west, going in a submarine, etc. You can read it in its entirety on The Gutenberg Project.