Review Blog

May 23 2019

The Space race by Sarah Cruddas

cover image

Dorling Kindersley, 2019. ISBN: 9780241343777.
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Subjects: Moon, Solar system, Space transport, Mars mission. Astronaut Eileen Collins introduces The Space race in an inspirational foreword. She discusses her nine-year-old dreams to become a female astronaut, her career as a space pilot and her future hopes for women to walk on the moon and live on Mars.
The Space race is presented in three sections: 'To the Moon'; 'After Apollo 11' and 'The new Space race'. Each spread includes easy-to-read information, colourful photographs, diagrams and charts with interesting captions. In Rocket Power we learn about ancient Greek scientist Archytas who created a steam-powered wooden pigeon which flew on a wire for 200 metres. The Chinese invented gunpowder and fired arrows filled with this explosive material from 1200CE. Animals played an important role: fruit flies, mice, the Russian dog Laika even a trained chimpanzee called Ham who tested weightlessness for sixteen minutes!
The 1960's Space race influenced TV shows - The Jetsons, clothes, toys, fashion and even food and drinks. Author Sarah Cruddas provides backgrounds of the women who played pivotal roles, mathematicians, scientists and engineers. Some women worked as 'human computers' solving difficult mathematical calculations to understand spacecraft performance. 'The quiet heroes' tells of the team of 400,000 people who backed the astronauts, from seamstresses who handstitched the space suits to ground control personnel and the teams of scientists and engineers across the globe who tracked their flights.
'The new Space race' is a wonderfully exciting section, exploring the future possibilities with robonauts, super mega-rockets, the new space nation of China and the possibility of building s permanent base on the Moon and Mars. The author leaves the ending open - where to next?
Sarah Cruddas and the Dorling Kindersley publishers have created a visually outstanding and highly educational resource. The Space race is an excellent resource for STEM and History research investigating the ancient and modern dynamics of travel, propulsion, living in Space and the influences of governments in exploring space. Families will enjoy sharing this informative book, opening up new realms and frontiers, providing lively discussions and piquing the interests of space fans.
Rhyllis Bignell

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