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Cartoonist: From Bloom County to Moms on Mars

Berkeley Breathed's latest book tells the story of Milo, whose mother is kidnapped by Martians.
Berkeley Breathed's latest book tells the story of Milo, whose mother is kidnapped by Martians.

In his new book, Mars Needs Moms!, author and cartoonist Berkeley Breathed tells the story of Milo, a boy who re-evaluates the value of moms when Martians kidnap his mother and take her back to their home.

Breathed won the Pulitzer for his satiric and unconventional cartoon, Bloom County.

He is breaking the mold again with Mars Needs Moms!, which nearly every publisher passed on because of a serious turn the plot takes, Breathed tells Andrea Seabrook.

At the beginning of the book, Milo calls his mother "nothing but a bellowing broccoli bully" and a "carrot-cuddling cuckoo."

But after the Martians kidnap her, Milo's mother gives up her space helmet to save her son. For a while, it's uncertain whether she will survive.

Breathed knows that kind of drama is not typical for a children's book, but he has made a career of pushing envelopes, whether it's in cartooning or writing picture books.

And he says it is "unalterably true" that parents will do anything for their children.

"Sacrifice is all about what parenting is," Breathed says.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.