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Lopside is a Barkonaut, a specially trained dog who assists human astronauts on missions in space. He and the crew aboard the spaceship Laika are en route to set up an outpost on a distant planet. When the mission takes a disastrous turn, the Barkonauts on board suddenly find themselves completely alone on their severely damaged ship. Survival seems impossible. But these dog Lopside is a Barkonaut, a specially trained dog who assists human astronauts on missions in space. He and the crew aboard the spaceship Laika are en route to set up an outpost on a distant planet. When the mission takes a disastrous turn, the Barkonauts on board suddenly find themselves completely alone on their severely damaged ship. Survival seems impossible. But these dogs are Barkonauts—and Barkonauts always complete their mission. SOS. Ship damaged. Human crew missing. We are the dogs. We are alone.


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Lopside is a Barkonaut, a specially trained dog who assists human astronauts on missions in space. He and the crew aboard the spaceship Laika are en route to set up an outpost on a distant planet. When the mission takes a disastrous turn, the Barkonauts on board suddenly find themselves completely alone on their severely damaged ship. Survival seems impossible. But these dog Lopside is a Barkonaut, a specially trained dog who assists human astronauts on missions in space. He and the crew aboard the spaceship Laika are en route to set up an outpost on a distant planet. When the mission takes a disastrous turn, the Barkonauts on board suddenly find themselves completely alone on their severely damaged ship. Survival seems impossible. But these dogs are Barkonauts—and Barkonauts always complete their mission. SOS. Ship damaged. Human crew missing. We are the dogs. We are alone.

30 review for Voyage of the Dogs

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mogsy (MMOGC)

    4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2018/09/30/... Middle Grade fiction isn’t an age category I typically go for, but I’m a big fan of Greg Van Eekhout and when I saw the premise of Voyage of the Dogs I just couldn’t resist. This book was just too darn cute! Billed as The Incredible Journey set in space, the story follows a team of four scrappy and adorable canine Barkonauts as they travel aboard the colonization ship Laika as companions and specially trained helpers to the 4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2018/09/30/... Middle Grade fiction isn’t an age category I typically go for, but I’m a big fan of Greg Van Eekhout and when I saw the premise of Voyage of the Dogs I just couldn’t resist. This book was just too darn cute! Billed as The Incredible Journey set in space, the story follows a team of four scrappy and adorable canine Barkonauts as they travel aboard the colonization ship Laika as companions and specially trained helpers to the human crew. Thanks to technological advancements, the vocalizations and behaviors of dogs can be translated into human language, allowing communication between the two species. As a result, dogs can also be taught to do so much more. Our protagonist is a terrier mix named Lopside, who fought hard against the odds to make it into the Barkonauts program despite his small size. His team also consists of Daisy, the Great Dane puppy who is already as strong as an ox; Bug, the Corgi genius who helps in Engineering; and Champion, the captain’s loyal Golden Retriever who also serves as leader of the Barkonauts. The four of them are especially close to Roro, their human handler who recruited and trained them for their mission in space. Their destination is Stepping Stone, a planet far outside of our solar system where the Laika hopes to establish a colony by first seeding it with agricultural crops and livestock. The book begins with the crew preparing to go into hibernation for the long journey. Lopside is nervous about going into cryosleep, but is comforted by Roro who tells him all will be well. But when the dogs wake up, they find that everything has gone wrong. The Laika is severely damaged, the ship empty save for the four of them. Food, water, and supplies are also low, yet they are still a long way off from reaching Stepping Stone. Any way you look at it, the situation seems hopeless, and indeed, command back home has already given up on them, declaring the mission a total loss. Still, Lopside is unwilling to accept defeat. Alone with just their wits, he and his fellow Barkonauts must work together to survive and find out what happened to the human crew. That’s because they are good dogs, and good dogs always complete their mission. I have to say, despite initial reservations that this book would be too childish, I actually ended up enjoying it a lot. Yes, it is cutesy and has talking dogs, but I was also impressed with the story and many of its deeper and more poignant themes. Obviously, at the heart of it is the idea of Man’s Best Friend and the enduring relationship between humans and dogs. It’s a bond that has been around since the beginning of time, making me wonder why it isn’t featured more prominently in space colonization sci-fi. Dogs are our comfort and joy, our helpers and our family—of course people would want their canine companions along with them for their journey to a new life on a new world. The story also acknowledges how humans and dogs have evolved together, a process which has shaped society and culture, so it was interesting to see that idea expanded to technology as well. Still, while the dogs here may be ultra-intelligent and highly anthropomorphized, I was glad to see them retain many of their doggie traits. Lopside does rocket science, but still dreams of chasing rats. The Barkonauts communicate verbally with each other, but still nothing beats a good butt sniff. These and many more examples are what gives this book its charm and humor, which I’m sure any dog lover will be able to appreciate. Voyage of the Dogs was overall a feel-good read, with appeal to wide audiences while staying age-appropriate in the 8-12 range. A couple topics with the potential to be mildly upsetting to sensitive readers include Lopside’s backstory, which heavily implies he was abandoned by his previous owners. Fortunately, he is eventually rescued by Roro, who nominates him for Barkonauts training after witnessing his unfailing optimism and perseverance. Then there is the true story of Laika, the dog who was launched by the Soviets on a one-way trip to space aboard Sputnik 2 in the late 50s. While the book avoids going into all the sad details, the story is referenced at a crucial turning point for our dog characters to gain a new perspective. When all is said and done though, we do get a happy ending, along with what I thought was a beautiful tribute to Laika. All in all, Voyage of the Dogs was a tail-wagging good time, one that I would not hesitate to recommend to readers of all ages, especially those who love dogs. I don’t often find myself taken with a lot of children’s books, but this is definitely one to bark about. Audiobook Comments: If you have children in the targeted age range, this audiobook would be a good one to listen with them. Patrick Lawlor provides a good voice for Lopside, and when the dogs started doing Morse code, I almost got a cramp from laughing so hard at the “bark-bark-woofs!” A very entertaining listen overall.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lis Carey

    I'll just say this up front, because I'm one of the people for whom this is important: No dogs die in this book. We do get the story of Laika*, told by one of the dogs to the others so that, at a critical point, they can make an informed choice, but Greg Van Eekhout kills none of his fictional dogs in the course of this story. Lopside, Bug, Daisy, and their pack leader, Golden retriever Champion, are Barkonauts, dogs specially trained and equipped to be part of the crew of Laika, the first Earth I'll just say this up front, because I'm one of the people for whom this is important: No dogs die in this book. We do get the story of Laika*, told by one of the dogs to the others so that, at a critical point, they can make an informed choice, but Greg Van Eekhout kills none of his fictional dogs in the course of this story. Lopside, Bug, Daisy, and their pack leader, Golden retriever Champion, are Barkonauts, dogs specially trained and equipped to be part of the crew of Laika, the first Earth ship to head out to start a colony on an alien world in a distant solar system. There are four human crew as well, and we only meet two of them before one, Roro, helps the dogs into hibernation for the FTL portion of their travels. When the dogs wake up, the humans are gone, having taken the lifepod, and the ship is badly damaged. They're on the outskirts of their destination star system, but with with the ship's drives not working, too far from their destination planet, Stepping Stone. The dogs struggle to make repairs. They manage to redirect the communication antenna, and send a call for help to Earth. They are good dogs, and they are Barkonauts. Barkonauts complete their missions, and their mission is to get to Stepping Stone. There are real personalities at work. There is both conflict and cooperation among the dogs. Lopside, a little terrier mix, the only non-purebred, is our viewpoint character. From time to time he reminds us that unlike the others, he wasn't bred to please everyone. (Champion's a Golden, Bug is a Corgi, Daisy a Great Dane puppy. All bred to work with people, not to consider people's opinions and then make their own decisions.) Looming over their efforts is the name of the ship, Laika. They know Laika was the first dog in space, the very first Barkonaut, but for some reason, her story is missing from The Great Book of Dogs, the book Roro read to them, full of the stories of heroic dogs. Lopside really wants to know that story. He's sure it would help inspire them to even greater heroism and ingenuity. But with or without the story of Laika, these dogs love their people and their jobs, and are determined to succeed They don't quit. They don't fail. This is a very satisfying story. Recommended. I bought this book. *Considering how long it's been, and how much younger than me are the people raising young children today, I think I have to say outright what Laika's story is. She was the first dog in space, yes. She went up in Sputnik 2, on November 3, 1957. There was never a plan to bring her back, but she died within hours, when a malfunction caused the Sputnik cabin to overheat. This was the result of the Soviet space program taking barely four weeks to design Sputnik 2, and that wasn't enough time to make a reliable temperature control system for Laika. Laika's story is one of humans behaving badly. Greg Van Eekhout, on the other hand, is a good human, who gets well-deserved cuddles from his dogs.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Eliza Rapsodia

    ARC provided by Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review REVIEW IN ENGLISH This is was a fun and sometimes deep and emotional adventure. Lopside is a barkonaut -a dog that has been trained to help and resolve problems on missions in space. He is part of a crew in the spaceship Laika that is going to a distant outpost. But something really bad happen and Lopside and his barkonaut friends: Daisy, Bug and the leader Champion should try to resolve the damage on the ship and survive at the same time ARC provided by Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review REVIEW IN ENGLISH This is was a fun and sometimes deep and emotional adventure. Lopside is a barkonaut -a dog that has been trained to help and resolve problems on missions in space. He is part of a crew in the spaceship Laika that is going to a distant outpost. But something really bad happen and Lopside and his barkonaut friends: Daisy, Bug and the leader Champion should try to resolve the damage on the ship and survive at the same time. At first I was really excited to read about dogs in space but as the story progressed I found myself really thinking about what could happen if a group of dogs and humans were really in trouble in space. Who could help them? Is there a way to survive after a fatal incident? So it really put me to think about the message this books was giving. I don't think you should sugarcoat what happens so I really appreciate it. I felt it more real and plausible. All the barkonauts have personality and a rol to play here: Champion as the leader, Bug as the technician, Daisy as the strong and active and Lopside with intelligence to resolve problems. Also there's a human that is relevant to the story: Roro, the one that adopted Lopside when he was abandoned. I loved to read about the perspective of Lopside and their interaction with the pack. I think it's really well done. The aspects of the technical matters of the spaceship are really well done and I don't think it's hard to understand at all. So kudos to the author for that. Emotional moments and stories of dogs are here too and it's a great addition. I really enjoyed this novel as an adult and I think kids will love it too. ****************************************** RESEÑA EN ESPAÑOL Esta fue una aventura muy divertida pero también profunda y emotiva. Lopside es un barkonauta, un perro que ha sido entrenado para ayudar y resolver problemas en misiones en el espacio. Es parte de un equipo en la nave espacial Laika que se dirige a un planeta distante. Pero algo malo sucede en el viaje y Lopside y sus compañeros, Daisy, Bug y la líder Champion deber resolver el problema y tratar de sobrevivir al mismo tiempo. Al principio estaba muy interesada por leer un libro infantil con perros en el espacio. Lo primero que uno ve es que está bien escrita y no es tan infantil como parecía y a medida que avanzaba la historia me sorprendió las preguntas serias de la historia: ¿qué podría pasar si un grupo de perros y humanos se vieran atrapados en una nave en el espacio? ¿Quién podría ayudarlos? ¿Hay alguna manera de sobrevivir después de un incidente tan grave? Me hizo pensar en el mensaje que el libro da y me gustó también que fuera ameno y serio al mismo tiempo. Lo sentí más real y plausible, aunque si se tiene en cuenta que los perros "hablan" entre ellos y se comunican con los humanos por un microchip implantado en el cerebro. Todos los barkonautas tienen personalidad y un rol: Champion, la lider y que planea con inteligencia, Bug como el experto en tecnología, Daisy como la perra fuerte y activa y Lopside, que es el protagonista, con su instinto para resolver problemas. También hay un humano que es relevante para la historia: Roro, una joven que adoptó Lopside cuando lo abandonaron. Me encantó cómo el autor narra desde la perspectiva de un perro y creo que está muy bien hecho. Los aspectos de los asuntos técnicos de la nave espacial están muy bien hechos y no creo que sea difícil de entender en absoluto. Así que felicitaciones al autor. Los momentos emocionales y las historias de perros famosos se cuentan aquí y creo que es una super buena adición. Yo personalmente disfruté esta novela como una adulta y creo que a los niños también les va a encantar. Ojalá este libro sea traducido al español.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    The best word I can come up with to describe this one is sweet. These are four Very Good Dogs, doing whatever they can to complete their mission. They care about each other, just like they cared about their humans. I'm not sure exactly how van Eekhout did it, but he makes you want to reach into the book and give them all belly scritches and reassure them that yes, they're good dogs. There are plenty of dangers - the ship is in bad shape, and the dogs don't know what happened to the humans. And th The best word I can come up with to describe this one is sweet. These are four Very Good Dogs, doing whatever they can to complete their mission. They care about each other, just like they cared about their humans. I'm not sure exactly how van Eekhout did it, but he makes you want to reach into the book and give them all belly scritches and reassure them that yes, they're good dogs. There are plenty of dangers - the ship is in bad shape, and the dogs don't know what happened to the humans. And there are parts where the dogs have to struggle with feeling abandoned, and with fears of what's going to happen to them. But the book never dwells on the darkness or lets the reader lose that sense of doggie determination. I particularly loved the moments of dogness, like the way Lopside keeps wishing he could hunt a rat, or Daisy watching the viewscreen because it's the closest she can get to sticking her head out the window. It's obvious van Eekhout loves dogs - it comes through in every bit of dialogue, in the personalities of the four Barkonauts, and in the stories sprinkled throughout the book of other heroic dogs from history. Not to mention his author photo. This book was fun, hopeful, heartfelt, and just what I needed. I'll be passing it on to my son, who's also a dog-lover. I expect him to completely adore this book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    This is a fabulous concept for an MG adventure novel – dogs in space! Companion-dogs forced to rescue themselves when their humans go missing! – and it’s carried off SO well. I actually know Greg, so I already knew that he had dogs of his own, but even if I hadn’t known him beforehand, I would have been certain that he’s a dog-owner just by how fantastically he writes from a dog’s point of view. It is so much fun to watch the barkonauts’ augmented intelligence mix with their laugh-out-loud spot-o This is a fabulous concept for an MG adventure novel – dogs in space! Companion-dogs forced to rescue themselves when their humans go missing! – and it’s carried off SO well. I actually know Greg, so I already knew that he had dogs of his own, but even if I hadn’t known him beforehand, I would have been certain that he’s a dog-owner just by how fantastically he writes from a dog’s point of view. It is so much fun to watch the barkonauts’ augmented intelligence mix with their laugh-out-loud spot-on dog priorities and behaviors. And the space adventure is really fabulous! As my 9-year-old was reading me a chapter (because we took turns reading it out loud to each other, one chapter at a time), he said: “I think I know what’s going to happen next, but I’m not going to tell you, because I think it’s going to be really exciting if I’m right!” And he was. :) It was very exciting! Recommended to all kids and adults who love dogs and outer space adventures.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Shae McDaniel

    Literally Homeward Bound meets Gravity. So cute. But also wow, stressful. Kids are going to love it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    "A sad story could be like a gentle scritch behind the ears. It told him that he was not alone." So so so enjoyed this book. "A sad story could be like a gentle scritch behind the ears. It told him that he was not alone." So so so enjoyed this book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jake

    Really freaking cute and perfect for kids wanting to try a mild sci-fi book. Also, anything with Barkonauts will be easy to hand to nervous readers. This was recommended to me by a 3rd grade girl and her dad who both read and loved it. So glad I listened.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Critter

    I loved this book. It was adorable, sweet, and sad. It was a really great story of determination and survival. The pack of dogs that the story surrounded, were all great characters that were very well developed. I particularly adored the main character, Lopside who is a super loyal and endearing dog. Another thing I loved is how much the dogs in this book acted like dogs. Dog body language and behavior was really well shown throughout the book and I can tell that the author truly loves dogs. Thi I loved this book. It was adorable, sweet, and sad. It was a really great story of determination and survival. The pack of dogs that the story surrounded, were all great characters that were very well developed. I particularly adored the main character, Lopside who is a super loyal and endearing dog. Another thing I loved is how much the dogs in this book acted like dogs. Dog body language and behavior was really well shown throughout the book and I can tell that the author truly loves dogs. This was also one of the few books that has caused me to genuinely worry about the outcome. The story was fraught with danger as the dogs faced more and more catastrophes. I also think this book did a really great job at bringing up some tough topics in the relationships between people and dogs. While it does celebrate our relationships with dogs, it also doesn’t shy away from discussing some of the negative and sometimes selfish relationships people have with dogs. I know this book is going to stay with me for a long time and it is a truly touching story.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte

    If you love dogs and love desperate voyages of a handful of survivors on board a crippled spacecraft who never give up hope but keep on doing their best because they are Good Dogs gosh darn it...and even though I don't care that much for dogs in general I am a sucker for any sort of character who keeps doing all they can for pack and for mission because the alternative, giving up, is not conceivable. These are Good Dogs indeed, and their good dogness made me teary quite a few times. Soiler, becau If you love dogs and love desperate voyages of a handful of survivors on board a crippled spacecraft who never give up hope but keep on doing their best because they are Good Dogs gosh darn it...and even though I don't care that much for dogs in general I am a sucker for any sort of character who keeps doing all they can for pack and for mission because the alternative, giving up, is not conceivable. These are Good Dogs indeed, and their good dogness made me teary quite a few times. Soiler, because some people don't like books where horrible things happen to dogs--no horrible thing happened that made me teary. Just Good Dogs being Good Dogs.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    Lopside, Champion, Bug, and Daisy are the Barkonauts and they will finish their mission. This story was so amazingly adorable I wanted to hold up the book and wave it around in a room full of book enthusiasts and say "YOU MUST READ THIS!" Kids will love it, but so will adults who can still deal with a reasonable amount of cuteness. Each of the dogs has its own distinct personality. I adored Daisy, the Great Dane puppy who bounds all over the place, always with her squeaky ball, but ends up partly Lopside, Champion, Bug, and Daisy are the Barkonauts and they will finish their mission. This story was so amazingly adorable I wanted to hold up the book and wave it around in a room full of book enthusiasts and say "YOU MUST READ THIS!" Kids will love it, but so will adults who can still deal with a reasonable amount of cuteness. Each of the dogs has its own distinct personality. I adored Daisy, the Great Dane puppy who bounds all over the place, always with her squeaky ball, but ends up partly saving them all. There is a surprising amount of tension - parts where I actually worried about what would come next. It definitely has a Happy Ever After, but the dogs have to work to get there. They are Good Dogs. And Good Dogs complete their mission.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ms. B

    Meet Lopside, a mutt with a big heart, Champion the golden retriever, Bug the corgi, and Daisy, the Great Dane puppy! Their dogs in space, but can these barkonauts survive without the astronauts, their human companions? With relatively short chapters, fans of dog stories or those looking for a read aloud about space will like this one.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Riley

    Okay, Okay, it's puppies in space AND there's a corgi named Bug AND the dogs have to try and get themselves to safety on a doomed ship called the Laika? Come on. This is everything I love. It's a short sweet little sci-fi novel about a rescue mutt named Lopside who is part of a team of...I kid you not, Barkonauts, who when their people go missing, must try and navigate their doomed ship through an asteroid field to their final destination. It was equal parts silly and tense, with tons of sweetne Okay, Okay, it's puppies in space AND there's a corgi named Bug AND the dogs have to try and get themselves to safety on a doomed ship called the Laika? Come on. This is everything I love. It's a short sweet little sci-fi novel about a rescue mutt named Lopside who is part of a team of...I kid you not, Barkonauts, who when their people go missing, must try and navigate their doomed ship through an asteroid field to their final destination. It was equal parts silly and tense, with tons of sweetness and faith in humanity from Lopside who is an eternal optimist when it comes to humans and dogs.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mary Lowd

    This is a perfect book. Addendum a few hours later: I miss reading this book... It was totally absorbing, and if I'd read it when I was twelve, it would have unquestionably been my favorite book. This is a perfect book. Addendum a few hours later: I miss reading this book... It was totally absorbing, and if I'd read it when I was twelve, it would have unquestionably been my favorite book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Hobart

    ★ ★ ★ 1/2 (rounded up) This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader. --- Of course, the humans couldn't go alone. There had to be dogs. Because wherever humans went dogs came along. Like rats, only more helpful. Dogs would herd livestock. Dogs would keep watch against the unknown. And, more importantly, dogs would keep the human crew company during the long spaceflight, and on their new home, far away from Earth. But first they had to get there. I guess this is technically a "Middle Grade" b ★ ★ ★ 1/2 (rounded up) This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader. --- Of course, the humans couldn't go alone. There had to be dogs. Because wherever humans went dogs came along. Like rats, only more helpful. Dogs would herd livestock. Dogs would keep watch against the unknown. And, more importantly, dogs would keep the human crew company during the long spaceflight, and on their new home, far away from Earth. But first they had to get there. I guess this is technically a "Middle Grade" book -- but forget about that. Call it All-Ages instead -- that way, adults and YA readers and . . . everyone can enjoy this SF guilt-free. I should also include this line from The Big Idea post Van Eekhout wrote on Scalzi's blog: "Spoiler: I don’t kill off any of the dogs in this book. Why not? Because I’m not a monster, that’s why not." It's important to get that out of the way. Let's start with this: the rationale to bring dogs along on a spaceship. It's brilliant. It also points to one of the biggest problems with Starfleet, the Colonial Battle Fleet, the Serenity, etc. A lack of animals. Sure, NCC 1701-D had pets (not that we saw them often), but they were sealed up in cabins. And Firefly's episode "Safe" had cattle, but that was an oddity. The animals aboard Laika are there for purposes -- like the main character, Lopside. He's there to hunt rats -- where there are humans and cargo, there are rats. Something small and fast -- and with a good nose -- is needed to hunt rats down. The book will do a better job explaining the roles of the other three dogs and what advances in breeding have led to dogs being capable of being more than the dogs we have today -- while still remaining dogs -- to become Barkonauts. These poor, brave dogs go into the hibernation state just before the humans do to complete the voyage to a nearby star system as part of human exploration and colonization, the first mission like this humanity has tried. But when the dogs wake up, they notice something's wrong -- part of the ship is missing, as is the crew. They're too far into the mission to turn around, too far away for a rescue mission to reach them. At this point, Lopside and the others have to try to salvage what they can and limp along to their final destination. Lopside is a terrier mix, he's brave, he has (understandably) abandonment issues -- which are not helped at all by the absence of the humans. He's a little scatter-brained (like a good terrier) and he's incredibly loyal and has a great heart. The other barkonauts are as well-drawn and lovable. Van Eekhout is clearly a dog-lover and it comes out in his characters. He's also a pretty good story-teller, because even with that spoiler, I was invested in the outcome and really wasn't sure how he was going to pull things off in a way that was satisfying and that wouldn't reduce semi-sensitive 5th-graders across the globe to quivering balls of tears (a lesson Wilson Rawls could've used, I have to say -- no, I'm not still torn up about Old Dan and Little Ann, why do you ask?). He does succeed in that -- although some might get a bit misty at a point or two. It's a fun and creative story, and takes some oft-repeated SF tropes and deals with them in a refreshing way. Ignore the stars -- I can't bring myself to give it more, I don't know why. Pay attention to what I have said above and this: read the book. It'll warm your heart, it'll make you make you a little sad, it'll give you something to grin about -- and it tells a good story, too. What more do you want?

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC from Edelweiss Plus The Laika is on mission Stepping Stone, traveling outside the solar system to set up a new planet. In addition to the human crew, animals, and plants, there are some very loyal dogs, because where there are humans, there HAVE to be dogs! Since the journey is so long, everyone goes into hibernation including our hero, Lopside, Great Dane Daisy, natural leader and captain's assistant Champion, and talented engineer Bug. Lopside is a bit apprehensive, but his human Roro tel E ARC from Edelweiss Plus The Laika is on mission Stepping Stone, traveling outside the solar system to set up a new planet. In addition to the human crew, animals, and plants, there are some very loyal dogs, because where there are humans, there HAVE to be dogs! Since the journey is so long, everyone goes into hibernation including our hero, Lopside, Great Dane Daisy, natural leader and captain's assistant Champion, and talented engineer Bug. Lopside is a bit apprehensive, but his human Roro tells him he is a good dog, and he follows her orders. When the dogs wake up, however, there is no sign of the humans, and their ship is in danger. The dogs work hard to get it fixed and to come up with the best plan they can to get the ship to their designated planet so that the mission can continue. The dogs manage to navigate the intricacies of space travel, like air locks, decompression chambers, and travel pods, even though they have no support from the command center, who tell them that they are good dogs but offer no attempts to rescue them! Wanting the mission to succeed, and wanting to rescue their humans if at all possible, the dogs make repairs, decide what functions of the space ship can retain power, and do the best they can with limited resources. Will the "Barkonauts" be able to reach their target and save their humans? Strengths: Writing from the point of view of a dog is a very fine balance, and Van Eekhout does a great job. It helps that there is technology that allows humans to translate dog thoughts into human language, and that the dogs are very well trained in so many aspects of space travel. They face dangers bravely and never give up. There are a growing number of space adventures books (as opposed to sci fi books where the aliens invade and everything goes poorly!), so this will be an excellent addition to the Voyagers series (various authors), Kraatz's Space Runners, and Liss' Randoms. The fact that it has such an adorable dog on the cover will make this appealing to my readers who might not normally pick up space travel books but will read anything about dogs. I know just the student to whom I will hand this first! Weaknesses: I can fully understand why Roro erased the story of Laika from the database. Not okay to share with doomed space dogs! I am really curious to see how this story continues, and hate to wait! What I really think: An easier sell than The Boy at the End of the World (2011) or Kid vs. Squid(2010) which I adored but which doesn't circulate terribly well. Glad to see Mr. Van Eekhout returning to middle grade!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Becky B

    Lopside, Champion, Daisy, and Bug are the four dogs that were selected to be companions to humans settling a new planet. They also have jobs to do on the ship, and the humans on their voyage have been equipped with the special ability to communicate with the dogs. They are on their way to their new home when the dogs wake from hibernation to find that the humans have abandoned ship in the lifepod, there's severe damage to the ship, and they are still a ways from their new home. Can four space do Lopside, Champion, Daisy, and Bug are the four dogs that were selected to be companions to humans settling a new planet. They also have jobs to do on the ship, and the humans on their voyage have been equipped with the special ability to communicate with the dogs. They are on their way to their new home when the dogs wake from hibernation to find that the humans have abandoned ship in the lifepod, there's severe damage to the ship, and they are still a ways from their new home. Can four space dogs make it to the new planet on their own? This reads like a smart space survival story, just with dogs as the main characters instead of humans. I like that the dogs like listening to stories of true dog heroes as inspiration in their down time. Readers get to learn about several real dog heroes through the retelling of those stories. I also appreciated that Van Eekhout kept the science smart and pretty realistic even if dogs are the main characters. Lopside is a very fun main character to follow around. He's got a plucky attitude, but is still very much dog. This is the perfect read for dog lovers who are scifi fans. Notes on content: No language issues. No sexual content. There are perilous situations but the worst injury the dogs face is (view spoiler)[a broken bone. No dogs die! (hide spoiler)] . The dogs do discover that the humans(view spoiler)[all died except Roro who they rescue (hide spoiler)] .

  18. 5 out of 5

    Terence

    An enjoyable enough story but not very memorable. Lopside, Champion, Bug & Daisy are genetically modified dogs aboard the Laika, which is on its way to colonize HD 24040. They awake from their hibernation berths to find the humans have abandoned the ship and they're adrift in space. It's up to them to repair the ship and complete the mission... As I said, it's a fine, quick read with enjoyable characters but it's not that impactful. I never connected with any of the dogs, and the one conflict that An enjoyable enough story but not very memorable. Lopside, Champion, Bug & Daisy are genetically modified dogs aboard the Laika, which is on its way to colonize HD 24040. They awake from their hibernation berths to find the humans have abandoned the ship and they're adrift in space. It's up to them to repair the ship and complete the mission... As I said, it's a fine, quick read with enjoyable characters but it's not that impactful. I never connected with any of the dogs, and the one conflict that may have made the book more than just another feel-good dog story - the dogs eventually find out what happened to the ship's namesake & ask themselves if humans are worth it - is brought up and resolved in a page (spoilers? - humans are "worth it"). More than two stars but couldn't quite make the three-star bar. Recommended for the lower end of the young-reader spectrum (I can easily see parents reading this to their kids before bed).

  19. 5 out of 5

    J.A.Birch

    Where there are humans there are dogs, also where there are humans there are rats, or so Lopside has been led to believe but on the Spacecraft Laika he hasn't seen a single rodent. The Spacecraft Laika is traveling to a new world to start a human colony; it holds many crew, some farm animals in deep sleep, a variety of eggs, and five dogs. Lopside, Champion, Daisy, and Bug are important members of the crew, they are the Barkonauts. Dad suggested I read this book knowing that I have a condition whe Where there are humans there are dogs, also where there are humans there are rats, or so Lopside has been led to believe but on the Spacecraft Laika he hasn't seen a single rodent. The Spacecraft Laika is traveling to a new world to start a human colony; it holds many crew, some farm animals in deep sleep, a variety of eggs, and five dogs. Lopside, Champion, Daisy, and Bug are important members of the crew, they are the Barkonauts. Dad suggested I read this book knowing that I have a condition when reading about animals when they are protagonists; he told me to read it anyway and I am very happy with the outcome. Voyage of the Dogs is a lovely, heartwarming read of human kinds link with canines. Set in the future there have been advances in science to elongate canine lives and to help with communications between dogs and humans (resulting in the humans having an implant that translates the dog's manners, body language, and barks so they can communicate both ways). The book follows Lopside the only non-purebred dog on the ship. Lopside helps with engineering; he carries multiple tools on his harness and is known by all the human crew. Champion is a golden retriever; she is in charge of the Barkonauts. Bug is a corgi; he helps with engineering. And then there's Daisy a great dane puppy, once she is fully grown on their desired planet she will help move heavy loads. Each of the Barkonauts is known through the crew, but they all love and respect Roro. Roro helps the Barkonauts; she maintains the bio-dome and the flora inside it. Roro is the most involved human when it comes to the Barkonauts; she makes them toys from spare pieces throughout the Laika and she tells them stories of hero dogs throughout history. Space travel is full of perils, even the best laid out plans can go wrong Voyage of the Dogs explores what happens when this happens. The Barkonauts wake from their hibernation chambers and find that all the humans are gone and the Laika is failing. A repeating theme through the book is that connection between humans and dogs, and that Barkonauts always complete their mission. Definitely one that I will reread time and time again.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. First - no dogs died, there was a point 150 pages in that i couldn't figure a way out for them and had to read the last chapter before i could continue. Van Eekhout put the dogs in a terrible situation And figured out a way to get his characters out it, v. impressive. The other thing about this book, the ship is called the Laika and anyone familiar w/what happened to the dog the Soviets sent into space knows what happened, i kept expecting doom for the ship, the explanation for naming the ship af First - no dogs died, there was a point 150 pages in that i couldn't figure a way out for them and had to read the last chapter before i could continue. Van Eekhout put the dogs in a terrible situation And figured out a way to get his characters out it, v. impressive. The other thing about this book, the ship is called the Laika and anyone familiar w/what happened to the dog the Soviets sent into space knows what happened, i kept expecting doom for the ship, the explanation for naming the ship after that great hero is explained well, as is the reason for not telling the dogs who Laika was. Wish the final chapter had been a half dozen pages longer. This will become a goto gift book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Billie

    I need to get over bad or incomplete science in books for middle graders. I mean, this was a good, solid space adventure starring dogs for goodness' sake and all I'm worrying about is who tested all the flora and fauna on Stepping Stone to ensure they were safe to eat. Like, seriously, the stuff on Stepping Stone was maybe 10% of the book and I'm letting it ruin my enjoyment of the whole book. Suspension of disbelief, woman. Suspension. Of. Disbelief. Sigh. My problem, not the book's. But can we t I need to get over bad or incomplete science in books for middle graders. I mean, this was a good, solid space adventure starring dogs for goodness' sake and all I'm worrying about is who tested all the flora and fauna on Stepping Stone to ensure they were safe to eat. Like, seriously, the stuff on Stepping Stone was maybe 10% of the book and I'm letting it ruin my enjoyment of the whole book. Suspension of disbelief, woman. Suspension. Of. Disbelief. Sigh. My problem, not the book's. But can we talk about the dead astronauts..?

  22. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    OMG! Good dog! This was not what I expected, it was so much better! While the premise of the book is fantastical, the author makes it feel really believable that dogs are as much the assistants to astronauts as they are to so many other workers. I was fighting back tears for the last two-thirds of the book and was drawn in to the "pack" and their struggle to survive. Highly recommend - I've already added it to my list of books to buy for my school library in the fall. Note: I won a copy of the eb OMG! Good dog! This was not what I expected, it was so much better! While the premise of the book is fantastical, the author makes it feel really believable that dogs are as much the assistants to astronauts as they are to so many other workers. I was fighting back tears for the last two-thirds of the book and was drawn in to the "pack" and their struggle to survive. Highly recommend - I've already added it to my list of books to buy for my school library in the fall. Note: I won a copy of the ebook from Goodreads to review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    A.B. Alvarez

    Voyage of the Dogs was recommended to me by my daughter and she hit this one out of the park. Greg Van Eekhout has written a middle-grade classic that is witty, funny, exciting, entertaining, and most of all touching. The adventures of the Barkonauts is up there with The Martian, and Lost in Space in creating a world that surrounds you with its reality even as things get more and more dangerous for the pack of unlikely heroes. I can't recommend this story enough. Great work, Mr. van Eekhout! Voyage of the Dogs was recommended to me by my daughter and she hit this one out of the park. Greg Van Eekhout has written a middle-grade classic that is witty, funny, exciting, entertaining, and most of all touching. The adventures of the Barkonauts is up there with The Martian, and Lost in Space in creating a world that surrounds you with its reality even as things get more and more dangerous for the pack of unlikely heroes. I can't recommend this story enough. Great work, Mr. van Eekhout!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Wagner

    This book might be for kids, but it doesn't flinch from discussing humanity's sometimes selfish relationship with dogs. It also works in a lot of the science behind life on a spaceship without ever being boring or sounding like it's talking down to its readers. This is an exciting adventure with believable dog heroes! I loved it. This book might be for kids, but it doesn't flinch from discussing humanity's sometimes selfish relationship with dogs. It also works in a lot of the science behind life on a spaceship without ever being boring or sounding like it's talking down to its readers. This is an exciting adventure with believable dog heroes! I loved it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Janice

    This is a lovely little book about a group of Very Good Dogs. On a spaceship. They got left behind by the humans on the ship, but they're determined to complete their mission. This is a middle-grade book, but if you need a pick-me-up or a unicorn chaser in these dark times, read (or listen) to this book. You won't regret it. This is a lovely little book about a group of Very Good Dogs. On a spaceship. They got left behind by the humans on the ship, but they're determined to complete their mission. This is a middle-grade book, but if you need a pick-me-up or a unicorn chaser in these dark times, read (or listen) to this book. You won't regret it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    June

    Lopside story as a Barkonaut. Lopside has gone from an abandoned puppy by his first family to one of four dogs selected to travel with humans to set up an outpost in deep space. However, the dogs wake up from hibernation to find the ship failing and no humans. Also enjoyed the stories of dogs that the Barkonauts read to inspire them to keep hope and keep trying.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kim Howard

    Cute story for fans of books about dogs and outer space!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Boling

    12/19/2018 ~ Oh, the power of stories. Lopside, a Barkonaut, listens and re-listens to audio recordings from the Great Book of Dogs on his lost human's tablet, because listening gives him and his packmates the strength to continue their mission. Story is powerful; story helps each of us discover who we are through windows to others' experiences and mirrors of our own experiences. This book will resonate with sci-fi fans, lovers of dogs, and all who revel in fast-paced action books with satisfying 12/19/2018 ~ Oh, the power of stories. Lopside, a Barkonaut, listens and re-listens to audio recordings from the Great Book of Dogs on his lost human's tablet, because listening gives him and his packmates the strength to continue their mission. Story is powerful; story helps each of us discover who we are through windows to others' experiences and mirrors of our own experiences. This book will resonate with sci-fi fans, lovers of dogs, and all who revel in fast-paced action books with satisfying endings. I hope it makes its way onto many lists of state award nominees.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Angie Boyter

    4+, verging on 5. A charming SF book for young people of all ages! Such a wonderful change from dystopic SF. Who could resist a book about a spaceship full of dogs, abandoned by the human crew and determined to save themselves and their ship? It was an outrageously cute idea, but could it succeed without being downright silly? The answer is a resounding Yes, and Voyage of the Dogs delivers a delightful read for both young people and adults. The spaceship Laika carries a small group of “barkonauts” 4+, verging on 5. A charming SF book for young people of all ages! Such a wonderful change from dystopic SF. Who could resist a book about a spaceship full of dogs, abandoned by the human crew and determined to save themselves and their ship? It was an outrageously cute idea, but could it succeed without being downright silly? The answer is a resounding Yes, and Voyage of the Dogs delivers a delightful read for both young people and adults. The spaceship Laika carries a small group of “barkonauts” among its crew to keep down any vermin that have stowed aboard and, more important, to provide companionship after the ship arrives at the new planet, Stepping Stone, where everyone would be homesteading. When engine problems cause the humans to abandon ship, the dogs vow to save themselves and complete their mission. The story is fun and never lags. The dogs are sympathetic and credible (well, almost). And even the science is plausible. And, (I hope this is not too much of a spoiler) there is a happy ending. Enjoy!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ramsey Hootman

    Review courtesy of my eight-year-old: I loved it! This book is a mix of funny, adventure, and sadness. There were lots of really sad parts. I liked how there were tons of details and how the dogs were super smart. I'm pretty sure the most funny part was where the dog burped a song. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves dogs and space. From me: Kiddo was instantly grabbed by the charming cover and the blurb riffing on Star Trek (to boldly go where no dog has been before) and, once he sta Review courtesy of my eight-year-old: I loved it! This book is a mix of funny, adventure, and sadness. There were lots of really sad parts. I liked how there were tons of details and how the dogs were super smart. I'm pretty sure the most funny part was where the dog burped a song. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves dogs and space. From me: Kiddo was instantly grabbed by the charming cover and the blurb riffing on Star Trek (to boldly go where no dog has been before) and, once he started reading, captivated by the story. When he finished, he was astounded to learn that many of the dog-lore stories in the book are in fact true. As for me - I want to read it, but I nearly started crying just reading the jacket copy, so I'm not sure I can make it through this one. Kiddo has assured me, however, that all the dogs are OKAY. Edit: Read this to my 5 year old. I was afraid this would be a huge tear-jerker, but it was actually written very well in terms of introducing some tough ideas while still keeping the tone pretty light and action-oriented. 5 year old was not as gripped by this as my older child, mainly because it's got a lot of technical space stuff. My older kid LOVES that, and if your child is interested in the details of space travel this is a great intro. Younger kid, not so much, so it was not an instant win for him. However, we did finish it, and he was glad it had a happy ending!

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