50 Animals That Have Been to Space

Formac. Aug. 2020. 88p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781459506022.
Gr 5-8–This highly engaging book describes how various animals fared when launched into the cosmos for a specific purpose or study. A brief narrative explains each animal’s preparation for flight and, most important, whether it survived the experiment and, if so, the effects of the journey. In just a paragraph or two, the authors evoke readers’ curiosity and empathy. The text states that by today’s standards, some of the experiments would be considered inappropriate. Many elements of the layout make the book visually appealing and easy to read. There is an abundance of photographs and uniform text boxes that provide brief but vital information about the launch, including the purpose of the study, the date, and the country of origin. An extensive glossary, photo credits, and a detailed table of contents are included. Symbols indicate if a YouTube video is available for viewing some aspects of a particular launch. There are online resources that link to articles pertaining to the research conducted on many missions. The websites listed in the “Research Papers” section do not have the full URLs. In this regard, educators and caretakers should advise young readers to access the websites with a .gov, .net, or .org address, as some searches yield numerous .com results.
VERDICT A fascinating, compact look at how a variety of creatures informed scientists’ knowledge of space travel’s potential impact on human bodies—once started, it’s difficult to put down. Some readers will be inspired to seek further reading or consider a career in space travel research.

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