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3.98  ·  Rating details ·  5,943 ratings  ·  790 reviews
Laika was the abandoned puppy destined to become Earth's first space traveler. This is her journey.

Nick Abadzis 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 healt
Paperback, 208 pages
Published September 4th 2007 by First Second (first published September 1st 2007)
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Jens Raab Hi Antoine!
When there is no description information for a specific edition, the default description will be shown. This was the case here. I've now ad…more
Hi Antoine!
When there is no description information for a specific edition, the default description will be shown. This was the case here. I've now added the French description for the French edition. 😃(less)

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Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,943 ratings  ·  790 reviews

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This is a heartbreaking story from start to finish. This poor dog that is so sweet and no one wanted. For some political reason, the Russian person in charge decided it would be good to send a dog in a flight orbiting the Earth knowing the dog would die.

I had no idea this even happened. I know about Sputnik and everything that went with that, but I didn't know about Sputnik 2 and that they sent a dog in space. It did not get good press at the time. I appreciate stories like this and learning ab
Greta G
In 1960, science-fiction author Robert Heinlein reported in his article “Pravda means Truth” (reprinted in Expanded Universe), that while traveling in the USSR, he met Red Army cadets who told him that there had recently been a manned space launch. This launch capsule, the Korabl-Sputnik 1, experienced a mechanical failure when the guidance system steered it in the wrong direction. This made retrieval of the capsule impossible, and the Korabl-Sputnik 1 was stranded in orbit around the Earth.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Dead dog books used to be a dime a dozen. Time was a kid couldn’t walk into a bookstore without getting whacked over the head with “Old Yeller”, creamed in the kisser by “Sounder”, and roughed up royally by “Where the Red Fern Grows”. Recently, however, dogs don’t die as often as all that. You could probably concoct some magnificent sociological explanation for this, citing changes in the political and emotional landscape of our great nation leading to the decrease in deceased literary pups, but ...more
Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance
“Work with animals is a source of suffering to all of us. We treat them like babies who cannot speak. The more time passes, the more I’m sorry about it. We did not learn enough from the mission to justify the death of the dog.” -Oleg Georgivitch Gazenko, 1998

If you think this is just another sad dog story…don’t bother to read on.

This graphic novel is about a man that escaped the Gulag, a little dog that is caught on the streets of Moscow, and Sputnik II, the second Soviet Satellite that was la
Dov Zeller
A lot of people complain about the manipulative nature of humans writing about canines who will die in the course of a story.

And some people openly admit that they appreciate the particular kind of pain that comes from these "dying dog" books.

But "Laika" is not, I do not think, a book that sets out to use Laika for emotionally manipulative purposes. On the contrary, the author makes it clear she's already been used enough (used to death) and Abadzis instead sets out to complicate and dignify t
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: x2017-read
A story of ambition, politics, and cruelty, leading up to the first Soviet launch of a living being into orbit. That being was a young dog that had been abused for much of her life then was sent to her needless death in an effort to meet a ridiculous deadline imposed by Khrushchev. I had a lot of difficulty reading this, not because this story is poorly told. Quite the opposite. Rather, Laika's death was a senseless waste, an outcome of the political and engineering struggles and personal costs ...more
Seth T.
Jul 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
Books with dogs tend to manipulate. That’s just the nature of the literary and cinematic landscape. Old Yeller. Where the Red Fern Grows. Homeward Bound. It’s like a rule. And rather than subvert this, LAIKA‘s pretty up front about the fact that it will in no way deviate from the script. It relishes in its formulaic, heart-melting prison of manipulation and contrivance.

Really, unless you’re a fan of being manipulated, the book’s only saving graces are that it offers an eye into Russia’s Cold War
Laika is an historical fiction based around the Soviet space program, and the space dogs experiments in the early 1950s. Author / artist Abadzis constructs a heartwrenching prequel for Laika, a stray dog before coming to the aviation test center. We also get the (true?) back story of some of the scientists in the Sputnik program. As this is an historical event, I am assuming many of you know the tragic outcome of this story (and the many others like it - the dogs that have no names and known sto ...more
Jan 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Okay, let's get two things out of the way. One, this is a graphic novel. Two, this is a dead dog book. The latter's not a spoiler--we're all reasonably intelligent people, we've heard of the Sputnik program even if we weren't around to personally witness its impact on the world. The dog dies, okay? That's not an acceptable reason to give this book a pass. (I'm talking to you, Ruth.) As for the former, well, if you're going to read one graphic novel this year, make it this one.

This is a tremendo
Sep 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
poor puppy

I'm not crying, you're crying!
Jun 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is the story of the dog then went into space on board Sputnik II in 1957. It's a combination of fiction and history, and I'm not exactly sure how to separate them, though I liked it so much it didn't really matter to me.

I enjoyed the art - the drawings, coloring, and layout had a unique feel to it that was very evocative.

I thought the story was great too. I see some reviews are saying the way a dog was used is a cheap manipulative trick. I didn't feel that way, as it wasn't just to tug at t
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it

Do you ever get excited about something and then not fully think through what it is you are about to experience? For example, let's say there was a dog who was the first living being in history sent into space. And you didn't really know anything more than that. Except maybe you knew the dog didn't come back. But you didn't really stop to think about it. Or what that actually meant.

So I was in tears by the end of this book. A few have criticized this as being emotionally manipulative but it seem
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
This graphic novel should have been about Laika, the dog that was sent to space. In reality it was about the humans that sent her there, she was just a side-character in their narratives and I did not like that. The only thing I appreciated about the humans was seeing their regret after the mission: they realized their mistake and also how horrible it had been to sacrifice a life for nothing.
Also, the drawing style wasn't really to my taste.
Jan 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was prepared to be sad but not THIS sad.
When I started working in a schoool, I thought that my strong immune system would keep me healthy even though all first-year teachers spend the whole year sick from new germs. Was I right? Not at all. It was the same with Laika. I knew that everybody else cried when they read this book, but I thought that somehow I'd be prepared, not that I'd find myself bawling into a bowl of pho on Clement St. And yet.

Laika is the story of the first dog to go up in space. It's not a spoiler to tell you that s
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
You got a soft spot for animals? Prepare a box of tissue before reading this book.

I still remember how I learnt about the space race between USSR & the U.S.A and the first living creature that was sent to the outer space was a dog. This is the story of the said dog, named Laika. Some would not stand the things they did to Laika that was told in this graphic novel but for me, I love how the story is told by a third person, an outsider looking in. It neither approve nor heavily condemned their ac

Alex Sarll
Oh, that poor pup. Two topics that reliably get me welling up; dogs in peril, and memories of the space age. So when Korolev tells Laika "You will fly further and longer and higher than any living being from this Earth ever has", it doesn't matter that I'm not sure about Abadzis' art style; I'm putty. Good dog. ...more
Dec 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
And I thought "Lassie Come Home" was sad. This was a new level. I don't know that I can recommend this to dog lovers - it's just sad. I hate how helpless...ah, well, it's no use to wail about it. The artwork left a lot to be desired - must everyone be ugly? ...more
Jan 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphics
i knew what would happen and i still read it. it was worth it but dang.
Jan 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
My heart is aching. I'm so sad. ...more
Feb 03, 2018 rated it liked it

An interesting graphic novel that depicts the story of the lives of the scientists who worked on Sputnik I and Sputnik II, and sent a dog, Laika, into space.
Jan 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have a bit of an obsession with the story of Laika, the dog the Russians sent into orbit on Sputnik 2 in 1957. As a way to capitalize on the success of Sputnik 1 a month earlier, the team was sent reeling into action to send a living being into space in time for the 40th year celebration of the Soviet Revolution. As a result, there was no time to develop a plan to get Sputnik 2 back to earth...it, and Laika ("bark" in Russian) were doomed to die in space. At the time, the world was told that t ...more
Aug 12, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: graphic-novels
(Éamon, I don't think you should read this book.) The story mostly revolves around humans, even though it's supposed to be about the first dog in space. The humans weren't as interesting to me. There's also a lot of meanness and some rather graphic violence toward the non-human characters, lots of unpleasant situations the non-humans never consented to being subjected to (like the space stuff), and all of that has left me feeling quite upset. ...more
Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
If I were rating just on the way art and plot work together, it probably would have been 3 stars. But I kept crying (because of the way the dogs were affecting their caretakers), so it gets bumped up.

This would make a good classroom addition, though Laika/Kudryavka's invented backstory is presented as "just as factual" as the space program's operations (which at least had documentation).
Rachael Hobson
Jan 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Rating: 4.5

Based on a true story about sending a dog into space. This comic was beautifully done. It moved me to tears! However, there was a slight hiccup in the beginning. It was in regards to the timeline. The story started off with a flashback, flashed forward, then flashed back again. I felt it was unnecessary. If it wasn't for this hiccup, this could have easily been a five star comic.
Nov 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: juvenilia
Abadzis, Nick. Laika, First Second, 199 pages. Graphic Novel.

Description: Laika tells the story of the Russia's Sputnik II program and the satellite's canine astronaut, Laika. The book focuses on the dog's hard early life and her bond with a trainer named Yelena.

Review: Any preconception that I had about graphic novels presenting simplistic or cartoonish stories was shattered by this book. Laika, is a complex story that focuses on the deep relationships that can be formed between humans and an
Becky B
This graphic novel fictionalized version of the story of Laika is told focusing on two people and one dog. First it focuses on Laika (originally called Kudryavka) from birth, to an unhappy adoption, to life on the streets, to life as a test dog for the Soviet space program. Secondly, it focuses on the man who designed Sputnik and Sputnik II. And thirdly, it focuses on a lady named Oleg who works for the Soviet's space program as the dog handler, who is brokenhearted when Kudryavka is chosen beca ...more
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I may have read Soviet Space Dogs only last year but Laika gives a much more emotional slant on the story. It's a mix of fact and fiction, giving her a backstory of how she became a stray and her life on the streets. For most the story, her original name is used (which means curly tail). This is interwoven with the human characters of Yelena, a fictional dog handler within the space programme, and the man who went on to become the Chief Designer.

Having read up on the subject previously, I know t
A really good book - the ending is sad, though, especially if you like animals. I was worried I was going to start bawling at the end... Actually kind of surprised I didn't.
It's a graphic novel, a historical fiction about Laika (Kudryavka), a dog that was in the soviet space program back in the 1950s. The story shows readers how Laika was taken from being a stray dog on the steets, and became the first living creature to be launched into space. Like I said, though, it's got a sad ending - due
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Graphic Novel 2 15 May 24, 2014 01:59AM  

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Nick Abadzis was born in Sweden to Greek and English parents and was brought up in Switzerland and England. He is a writer and artist who likes comics (which means these days he seems to be known as a "graphic novelist"). His work for both adults and children has been published in many countries across the world.

He also works as an editorial consultant and has helped set up several best-selling an

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Heads up, history nerds!   Historical fiction remains one of the busiest and most popular genres in the book business. It can be tricky just to...
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“For once, it seems there’s nothing to worry about…
… for the time being.
Of course, nothing lasts.
And why worry about that?
One must learn not to.
Every day, every moment is a frontier to a country that, once crossed, can never be returned to.
Most of the time, we don't notice.
Which is just how it should be.
The secret…
… is not to worry. […]
You can’t go back.
Although, those you leave behind…
… will still think of you.
Most of the time, we don’t notice the small, gradual changes…
… only the sudden, unexpected ones.
… But once you understand that nothing lasts…
… everything’s alright.
After all, something always comes along that changes everything.
And, once you realize this, you find that you’re no longer imprisoned by this truth…
… but freed by it.”
More quotes…