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3.97  ·  Rating details ·  5,482 ratings  ·  709 reviews
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
Paperback, 208 pages
Published September 4th 2007 by First Second (first published September 1st 2007)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  5,482 ratings  ·  709 reviews

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Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
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 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
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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 Im 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 storydont 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
Aug 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Dead dog books used to be a dime a dozen. Time was a kid couldnt 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 dont 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 as I ...more
Seth T.
Jul 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
Books with dogs tend to manipulate. Thats just the nature of the literary and cinematic landscape. Old Yeller. Where the Red Fern Grows. Homeward Bound. Its like a rule. And rather than subvert this, LAIKAs 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 youre a fan of being manipulated, the books only saving graces are that it offers an eye into Russias Cold War space
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 ...more
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
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
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
Sep 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
poor puppy

I'm not crying, you're crying!

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
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

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.
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
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.
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 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was prepared to be sad but not THIS sad.
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 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
My heart is aching. I'm so sad.
Brian Kelley
Jun 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Any story involving a mistreated animal just rakes at my gut--I'm a sucker for that type of manipulation. I can't even watch Marley & Me even though I read the book when it first came out. I'm serious when I say I steadfastly refuse to even look at the screen if my girlfriend puts Marley & Me on television. I've always had dogs and have become wired to respond emotionally to them. Few other stories have come anywhere near generating those types of heavy emotions in me.

Books earning 5/5
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, and Laika ("bark" in Russian) were doomed to die in space. At the time, the world was told that ...more
Dec 11, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: animal lovers wanting a sad tail(sorry), Librarians - cold war bibliography, USSR history fiends
Recommended to Jess by: group from children's lit
Laika blends four stories: Korolev, a political prisoner turned Soviet space engineer, Yelena, a lab tech in charge of dogs, Gazenko, Soviet space scientist, and Laika nee Kudryavka, the first dog in space.

Sad but interesting read. A useful look into cold war Soviet Union--notice the way propaganda is spoken of--that students would read. My only read objection is to chapter 2, where Adabzis creates a fictional backstory of Laika. I get that he's mirroring Korolev's struggle but it's unnecessary.
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.
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.
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).
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?
Nov 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Ages 10-Adult
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
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 ...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
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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

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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…