Quibbles aside, a space achievement well worth commemorating, with a less tragic outcome than Laika’s mission.


Two canine cosmonauts make history.

Not to be confused with Nancy Coffelt’s 1993 storytime staple of the same name, this look back to the space race’s early years follows the careers of Soviet “space dogs” Belka and Strelka—the first living creatures to survive a journey into orbit. With considerable embroidery, Southgate describes in some detail how the two strays were enticed off the Moscow streets, carefully tested and trained for their 1960 flight, monitored through multiple orbits, then brought back to Earth to become world celebrities. Along with giving the dogs anthropomorphic smiles, Deppe adds fanciful details, such as bubble helmets for both, and makes no effort to depict the Sputnik 5 spacecraft accurately. Still, the flat, bright images of blastoff and the use of headlines and poster type add plenty of visual drama, and as they take their star turns the two space travelers positively glow with doggy personality throughout. The fact that Belka and Strelka were actually accompanied by a large menagerie of rodents and other creatures is relegated to a comment in one of the two closing timelines, where the fates of the “more than 50 dogs” launched into space before Belka and Strelka also go unmentioned.

Quibbles aside, a space achievement well worth commemorating, with a less tragic outcome than Laika’s mission. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61067-824-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.


A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet