Space Cat Visits Venus by Ruthven Todd

Written in 1958, this is a beloved book to many for a good reason: it is beautifully illustrated, has a fun story, and the author put in as much as was known about space travel at the time (remember, no one would go to the moon until 1968). Of course we know much more about the galaxy, space travel, and the planets now, making this book’s outdated aspects all the more charming as a result. It’s a book to read to kids to get their imagination and adventure stirring while the enjoy the wonderful illustrations.

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Story: Space Cat Flyball has conquered the moon! But then astronaut Fred Stone prepares for a trip to Venus! Flyball already proved himself as an astrocat and is hoping to find tasty mice there. But what they do find is amazing and fantastical. Can Fred and Flyball the Spacecat save the indigenous species from a hostile invader plant from another planet?!?

So yes, this story is very sweet and fun. From scientific descriptions of ammonia clouds and different gravity, to the more imaginative psychic plants and three-legged mice. We get wonderful moments and one has to appreciate all the care that Ruthven Todd put into the story. Flyball’s adventures, a four book series, are a joy to read.

The illustrations, of course, are a huge asset. Flyball is somewhat anthropomorphic but most of the time looks like your ordinary tiger-striped cat. In this second book in the series, Fred and Flyball can communicate thanks to a plant so they can share their adventures and explorations together. Perhaps the cutest illustration is of Fred enjoying smoking a pipe in the spaceship while Flyball sleeps in his lap. Ah, the 1950s – it reminded me so much of the future world that Disneyland once promised us.

In all, truly wonderful and a treasure to be handed down through the years. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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