by Nick Abadzis


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Laika was the abandoned puppy destined to become Earth's first space traveler. This is her journey.

Nick Abadzis masterfully blends fiction and fact in the intertwined stories of three compelling lives. Along with Laika, there is Korolev, once a political prisoner, now a driven engineer at the top of the Soviet space program, and Yelena, the lab technician responsible for Laika's health and life. This intense triangle is rendered with the pitch-perfect emotionality of classics like Because of Winn Dixie, Shiloh, and Old Yeller.

Abadzis gives life to a pivotal moment in modern history, casting light on the hidden moments of deep humanity behind history.

Laika's story will speak straight to your heart.

Laika is the winner of the 2008 Eisner Award for Best Publication for Teens and an Eisner Award nominee for Best Reality-Based Work.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250050625
Publisher: Square Fish
Publication date: 09/30/2014
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 350,553
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 10 - 14 Years

About the Author

Nick Abadzis is a British comics creator whose work has been published across the globe—from the U.S. to Japan. He based his book on the true story of the Sputnik 2: there was really a dog named Laika, and she touched the stars before she died. In writing his graphic novel, Nick Abadzis did thorough scientific and historical research, including traveling to Russia, visiting special Sputnik 2 archives, and interviewing experts in the field. He lives in London with his wife and daughter.

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Laika (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book! A fine blend of fact and artistic license. The characterizations are moving and will bring tears to your eyes.
finchesghost on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As mentioned in another review, most dog stories are schmaltzy and overly melo-dramatic. This is not one of those stories. Laika is a vibrant story with very real characters and a focus on tough to make decisions where the right choice is not always the best choice. The story is inter weaved nicely with the history of the times and gives a solemnity to the graphic novel that a pure fiction may lack.
dr_zirk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Nick Abadzis' Laika took me by surprise - I was expecting the sort of mawkish melodrama that one usually associates with "dog stories" in western culture, but I found quite a bit more in these pages. That is not to say that Abadzis doesn't pull at the heartstrings from time-to-time, but his approach to the story of Laika is altogether more complete and complex than simply dwelling on the fact that the dog died in space. There is enough of the history and the geopolitics of the times included here to really give some context to Laika's story, and Abadzis deserves credit for delivering the full experience to his readers. This book can be enjoyed by history buffs as much as it can be enjoyed by dog lovers, and in truth the appeal is broad enough to capture general readers as well - an excellent job all around.
MeriJenBen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A mongrel dog is born in Soviet Russia. Known as Kudryavaka, she is first a neglected pet, then a plucky stray, and she finally winds up in the hands of the Space Medicine program. This organization provides canine test subjects to the Soviet rocketry experiments. Yelena, a young woman with an affinity for animals, becomes the caretaker of Kudryavaka, and forms a special bond with her. Kudryavaka is a "special dog" who performs exceptionally well under test conditions, which makes her the perfect candidate for the launch of Sputnik II; a launch she will not survive. This is a very moving book, however, the slightly sentimental vibe feels somewhat off. The story of the Chief Designer, is another off note, as it didn't seem to gel with the story of the dog and her handler. However, Abadiz does an excellent job of demonstrating the bond between Kudryavaka and Yelena; and how Yelena must reconcile her duty with her need to protect her charges. The artwork is clean and somewhat cartoony, with muted colors that work well to depict Soviet Russia. Kudryavaka is given personality without being anthropomorphic, and Yelena's sweet personality is shown in her character design.
tjensen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Can you cry over a comic book? (actually, a graphic novel) Well, I did over this one. Laika was the first passenger (dog) sent into orbit. It was 1957? 58? Russia had just launched Sputnik and wanted an even bigger event so they planned to launch a dog into space. However, they only gave themselves a month to put it together - enough time to get the dog up...but not enough to plan for re-entry. The book traces the life of the dog and the people in it. The graphic novel was a perfect medium for capturing the dog's personality and how those close to her grew to love her. And it made me cry - tears and sniffling.The only reason I gave it 4 instead of 5 stars was that some of the male characters were a little difficult to differentiate.
abbylibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Just a warning: the dog dies. Be prepared. Laika is the story of the first dog in space. This fictionalized account is based on lots of research, including information that was only revealed long after the Cold War was over. It's a very involving graphic novel and a basic knowledge of the Cold War and/or the Space Race is helpful in reading this book. I knew nothing about space dogs before and I think it's a very interesting topic. I'd recommend it to kids old enough to have learned a little about the Cold War (and who don't mind a SAD story).
knielsen83 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This graphic novel is based on the story of the dog sent up into space by the Russians. It was very touching.
akamarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Laika is a poignant story. The illustrations are vivid and beautifully drawn so that they show the emotions of the people and dogs vividly. The characters¿ dialogue also contributes to the reader¿s understanding of what kind of people, and dogs, they are. There are a great deal of illustrations, which help make this a complex and engrossing story. High school students with low reading ability will get a lot out of this novel, and the fascinating and personal story of the historical people and situations depicted will keep their interest. The only difficulty for them might be the Russian names, which can be difficult to pronounce for those not familiar with them and which can be confusing for those who don¿t know of the Russian custom of calling people by their first and second names.
eduscapes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Old Yellow, Where the Red Fern Grows, Shiloh, Because of Winn-Dixie... each generation needs a good tearjerker featuring a dog.Based on the true story of an abandoned puppy who becomes the first space traveler, Laika by Nick Abadzis is a graphic novel for people of all ages. Blending fact and fiction, the attractive visuals and readable text are well balanced.It was fun to go back and read about the early days of the space program. There are lots of great historical photos featuring Laika and other space animals. The book is a wonderful tribute to all of the animals who gave their lives for the space program.
delzey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When I heard about this project the first question that crossed my mind was "How do you make the story of the first dog in space interesting?" My second question was "And would young readers even care?"I'll elaborate on the first in a moment, but the answer to the second question is a firm and resounding "probably not" but that has more to do with a general lack of interest in the space program and nothing to do with this book.What Abadzis does is completely round out the story leading up to the launch of Laika the canine cosmonaut including the lives of those around her. Laika gives us the backstory on Sergi Pavlovich, the "chief designer" behind the Russian space program responsible for Sputnik. The story begins with Pavlovich leaving the gulag where he was once one of Stalin's political prisoners mumbling "I am a man of destiny." Saying this enough time in double-digit-below-zero temperatures becomes the mantra that saves him until a sound -- and the moon -- appear to guide him towards his salvation.Flash ahead years later where we're given a brief insight into triumphant launch of Sputnik, the little satellite that launch a superpower race toward space. Premiere Kruschev is impressed with success of the satellite and requests that the Chief Designer push forward to another historic launch in time for the national holiday a month down the road. An impossible task, but our man of destiny will not fail and he calls his team back from vacation to make it happen.Drop back a few years to a scene in a Russian household where among a little of puppies is a "special" runt with a curly tail. This runt is, of course, the future Laika and she moves about as if she has a destiny of her own. Taken in as a young boys punishment (she is meant to teach him responsibility) she spends much of her time alone in a hall closet, patiently waiting to be understood and loved. When the boy attempts to ditch the dog in the river she falls in with a street dog that shows her how to survive the lean streets. Eventually she is caught and sent to a special research facility that is raising dogs for a special government program.Here in the dog kennels we meet his handler, a young female apparatchik who is finding it hard to separate her scientific background with her love of her charges. She has come to recognize all the dogs in her care by their character, their strengths and weaknesses, and it's clear that she recognizes in Laika those same special qualities that all with eyes eventually see. Her patience, her loyalty, her trust in those worth trusting, make her the ideal candidate for her vigorous training program. As it becomes clear what Laika will be used for the scientists begin to have misgivings. Even Pavlovich is uneasy about the fact that in order to guarantee a successful launch for Kruschev he must send Laika up with no plan for retrieval. She is a dog of destiny.What Abadzis does in the end is create a story so rich that the reader will have a difficult time separating out the fact from the fiction. It is not impossible to believe what the dogs are thinking and dreaming because Abadzis has done his job of treating them as equal to humans. He includes supporting documentation at the end of the book but none of it (from what I can tell) is the true life story of Laika, and certainly not her autobiogrpahy. There is the ring of truth to every panel, so much so that I initially thought it might be eligible for the Siebert Award until my boss reminded me that the award went to books that were entirely non-fiction. Oh, yeah. That would preclude elements like talking dogs and unverifiable conversations -- or would it?Up to now I have left out a crucial bit of information: this is a graphic novel. It almost shouldn't make a difference and I left that bit of information out from the beginning deliberately. The question has come up about how one is supposed to review a graphic novel without showing pictures of the work. The answer is already out in th
MaowangVater on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A dog story set in the early days of the cold war space race, ending sadly, as many dog stories do with the demise of the main character and the grief of his human companions. Pressured for another spectacular launch to add to the propaganda success of Sputnik I, soviet scientists launch a dog into orbit with no plan for her return.In this well researched piece of historical fiction author and illustrator Abadzis adds an imagined early life for the dog Laika. This deepens the emotional impact of his graphic novel and forces the reader to consider the ethics of such animal experimentation.
timothyl33 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A poignant but semi fictionalized story behind the events that sent the first living being into space, Laika. All the characters (both two legged and four) were really well characterized and lends to a sense of drama and inevitability as Sputnik 2 launch draws near.
ElizaJane on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the true story of the Russian space program in it's infancy. They stunned the world when they sent up the first satellite, Sputnik. The Premier wanted to send another one up within a month on the celebration of the October Revolution. So this time they decide to send a dog into space but because of the short time frame they cannot work out a plan to bring the dog back, she will die in space.The book concentrates on the scientists and dog handlers working on the program within a 'know what you need to know' atmosphere. No one knows the reality of the situation until the end. The book particularly centers on a woman who is newly hired to work as the dog handler; she is a great animal lover and becomes attached to the dogs, especially the one who will eventually die in space.Honestly, this book did nothing for me. The story did not tell me anything I did not already know. I found the fact that the dogs talked to the woman to be rather disconcerting. I realize it was supposed to show that she felt she was communicating with them, but still....talking dogs in a true story put me off. I also found the pages very cramped. There were way too many frames per page for the size of the pages and everything felt squished on the page, leaving the print rather small to read. You need a good light when reading this book. In all it did what it was supposed to do, retelling the story from a human point of view but it left me bored. Obviously it is a sad story and perhaps if I was a dog lover I may have enjoyed it more. If you like books like Old Yeller perhaps this might be more your style than mine.
ohioyalibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
So moving...about the dog the Soviets sent into space. Excellent!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago