Dogs in Space introduces children to the amazing story of Belka and Strelka, the world-famous Soviet space dogs. Belka and Strelka were strays living on the streets, before they were rescued and taken to Moscow’s Space Centre. Because of their clever, calm, brave and obedient behaviour, they were selected to be canine cosmonauts. After intensive doggy training, they were launched in a rocket and became the first ever living creatures to successfully orbit the Earth.
This real-life story is told in a simple and engaging way, with a real feeling of drama, especially during Belka and Strelka’s journey. Although it is a serious story, there is a sense of playfulness in both the text and illustrations. The illustrations are fun and quirky, and are inspired by the Soviet propaganda posters of that time. It is hard not to be enamoured by the images of Belka and Strelka in their green and red astronaut suits.
The book ends with details of the key moments in the Space Race, including the different animals that journeyed into space. Dogs in Space is a very clever way of introducing younger children to the history of human exploration of space.