A Tuesday Ten: Cats in space!
Posted by Stephanie Whelan
So after my flashback Friday post, I thought it only appropriate to detail a list of ten books about furry felines out in the cosmos. Cats and space seem to go pretty well together. Here’s my ten!
Space Cat by Todd Ruthven illustrated by Paul Galdone (Peter Smith Publisher, c1952)
The book that prompted this list! The Space Cat series about the feisty feline Flyball and his adventures in space is thoroughly out of print. I hope someone sees to getting it digitally reissued! These 1950s space books for kids prompted many a reader to come to love cats, and science fiction.
Space Cat by Doug Cushman (HarperCollins, c2006)
Yep, there’s more than one book by this title. This more recent easy reader is a silly short read about a space-faring cat and his robot Earl. The two run out of fuel on a distant planet and have to figure out how to get more fuel to return to Earth. While not the most scintillating of texts it definitely fits the theme of the list!
Space Cat by Jeff Dinardo, illustrated by Ken Bowser (Red Chair Press, c2010)
I normally do not feature many small press items since it’s harder to be certain of the quality. But I’m already including easy readers in this list, and I think it’s significant to note that space and cats continue to come up in more independent writings. I noticed about four or five e-reads on Amazon that featured cats in space. This one is about a cat pursuing her dream (whatever Dog happens to think of it)
Binky the Space Cat by Ashley Spires (Kids Can Press, c2009)
Okay, so technically Binky doesn’t go into space. Our imaginative cat merely sees outside of his home (aka space station) as outer space and, after encountering bugs (aliens) makes plans to train, equip himself and finally venture into the unknown. Silly stuff with fart jokes and litter box references thrown in. There’s a whole graphic novel series about this funny feline.
Space Cats by Stephen Kroll, illustrated by Friso Henstra (Holiday House, c1979)
A book about a boy named Perry who encounters a group of alien cats who take him back to their world where there’s a cat war going on between the white and blue cats. Perry winds up captured at one point and nearly–gulp–executed! (strange stuff for a 48 page kids book, I have to find this one!) . Apparently the illustrations for this particular book are particularly disturbing–I’d agree from the cover!
Barbary by Vonda M. McIntyre (Houghton Mifflin, 1986)
This more realistic science fiction adventure for middle grade readers featured a pet cat named Mickey. When Barbary is sent into space to live with her relatives there, she smuggles her cat Mickey on board the space station, despite the rules forbidding pets. When it looks like Earth might make first contact with aliens, Mickey’s troublesome antics actually wind up helping the humans befriend their new alien contacts.
Star Ka’ats by Andre Norton, illustrated by Dorothy Madlee (Knight Books, c1976)
A fond favorite of mine, this intermediate science fiction series features cat–or ka’ats (as they call themselves) from outer space who have come to Earth to rescue as many of their brethren as possible before the Earth is destroyed. While on their mission, the Star Ka’ats wind up befriending two young humans, and decide to take them along when they leave Earth. Book one of the hard to find Star Ka’at series.
Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space by Dr Dominic Walliman, illustrated by Ben Newman (Flying Eye Books, c2013)
And I’ve even got a nonfiction book for this list (well, sort of). Professor Astro Cat is the academic, space-suited feline guide kids will find on their explorations of space and the discoveries human kind has made so far. The illustrations give the book a very 1950s retro feel.
Space Taxi: Archie Takes Flight by Wendy Mass and Michael Brawer, illustrated by Elise Gravel (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2014)
The first book in the Space Taxi series about a boy whose father drives an intergalactic taxi–and often gets involved in more than getting cab fares. Archie finally gets the chance to go with his dad, and encounters all sorts of dangers and amazing things. While he’s not pictured on the cover, this is the book where Archie befriends Pockets, a talking cat from another planet who winds up being more than he appears. Pockets comes to live with Archie at the end of book one, so we’ll see more of him in this intermediate reader series!
Spacebread by Oscar Steven Senn (Atheneum, c1981)
And last but not least, another favorite of mine. Steven Senn’s delightful space opera adventure about a fluffy white cat whose also a fearless intergalactic adventurer. Spacebread holds her own against all sorts of villains, and even winds up saving an entire planet in this story. The original book and it’s sequel, Born of Flame are both out of print, but are available digitally for readers. This is the original book that got me hooked on cats and space, so I felt it was only right to round out the list with it!
Please mention any other cats I may have left out!
About Stephanie WhelanI'm a children's librarian with a life-long love of all things science fiction and fantasy.
Posted on November 26, 2014, in General Posts, Lists and tagged Aliens, Authors, Children's Books, Children's Literature, fantasy, Lists, literature, MG Books, Middle-Grade Fiction, Reading, reviews, Science Fiction, series, SF, Space Adventure. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.