Published by Templar Books on Oct. 8, 2013
Genres: Picture Book
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My son loves books. I consider this one of my greatest parenting triumphs so far. One of the newest picture books we’ve added to his growing library is LAIKA: ASTRONAUT DOG, by Owen Davey. Three things about this book: The illustrations are wonderful; it’s based on a true story; and I can’t get through it without crying.
Author Davey has taken the true story of one of the first dogs launched into orbit and turned it into a really lovely little tale with eye-catching illustrations. His story follows Laika, a stray dog who is taken from the Moscow streets and recruited into the Soviet space program in the 1950s. In the book, Laika is looking for people to love her, and instead finds fame as a space-going dog. Yet that’s just as lonely as being a stray. In the end, she finds just the right family to give her all the love she wants. It’s a wonderful story, truly.
Of course, it’s not actually true … hence the tears. I sit there reading this story about a brave little dog who wants a family knowing that the real Laika died not long after she hurtled into space on Sputnik 2. I know that the scientists who worked with her knew she would die. There was no re-entry even considered that included her surviving.
I love Davey’s re-imagining of Laika’s trip to space and that he gives her a sweet, happy ending. Now if only I could get through it without choking up. Here’s a true story: That’s unlikely. But I love this picture book anyway, and I highly recommend it.