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Voyage of the Dogs: The Edwardian Cricketer Media Review

Voyage of the Dogs: The Edwardian Cricketer Media Review

Author: EdwardianCricketer/Thursday, June 27, 2019/Categories: Blog, Book Review

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Voyage of the Dogs, by Greg von Eekhout. New York. Harper, 2018, first edition. 208 pages, hardback. ISBN: 978-0-06-268600-8. $16.99.

SPOILER WARNING

This review contains spoilers, including revealing the end of the book.

So, I’m doing something a little different this time. Instead of giving a detailed summary or synopsis and then my opinion, I’m mixing them together. Let me know what you think. Do you like this format or do you prefer the old one? Or maybe you like something in between. I look forward to hearing from you.

REVIEW

This is a sweet book. Von Eekhout has very well captured what a reader might expect in the doggie personalities of his canine characters. The book is about a pack of four canine astronauts, or barkonauts as they’re called, on long-range settlement ship called the Laika, named for a barkonaut from the early space program.

Lopside is the determined Terrier mix whose main job it is to sniff out trouble on the Laika. With pocketed backpack of tools around his middle, Lopside is also the ship’s rat catcher, though he never catches one. Champion is a Golden Retriever whose job on Stepping Stone, their destination, would be search and rescue. She’s the commander’s assistant and leader of the dog pack. Bug is a Corgi who works in the engineering module and tries to act like the cranky engineers. Daisy is a Great Dane puppy who helps in cargo moving crates. Once on Stepping Stone, she would help with construction.

The dogs are put into hibernation for the journey but wake up early when something goes wrong. They find the ship empty of human crew and discover that something had collided with the Laika. They radio for help the best way they can: Morse Code. I like this. Von Eekhout doesn’t let the dogs speak English to the human crew but instead has a communications device that translates barking into English. The humans on Earth don’t have the devices so the dogs rely on Morse Code.

The barkonauts are determined to finish their mission: find Stepping Stone. Disasters and victories follow each other as they put their respective skills to the test. In the midst of the journey they discover what had caused their hibernation to end and what had happened to the human crew. They even save one the human crew. This and one other scene as a couple that might cause some anxiety for sensitive readers. These are breath-holding moments in the book, involving going outside the Laika in capsule. Another moment that might be difficult for sensitive readers is one where one of the dogs is injured and wants to be left behind for the sake of the others. It’s fairly intense.

The book ends well with the barkonauts completing their mission and getting to Stepping Stone. This is a great bedtime story book. Von Eekhout puts in enough science in the science fiction to make kids curious. They’ll want to know more about astronauts and space travel. Yet he keeps it simple where might either feel confused by or get bored with technical jargon. Voyage of the Dogs is a sweet book that covers some relatively difficult topics like death of a friend and mourning but doesn’t linger on them. It’s mostly about love, friendship, teamwork, overcoming hardship, and drive to succeed. I highly recommend Voyage of the Dogs, by Greg von Eekhout.

 

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