laika graphic novelI followed My Darling B to the library again today and, while she was working on her resume, I wandered past the stack of graphic novels in the young adult section near the computer printers. Most of them were collections of comic books, old and new, from the Marvel and DC lines, with all the familiar names that reminded me of the good old days when I had a seemingly infinite amount of free time to lay on the floor reading stuff like this.

But the name on the spine of one hardbound graphic novel, “Laika,” stood out from the rest because, so far as I knew, there had never been a comic book character who went by that name but, more than that, I was pretty sure there had been just one soul by that name whose celebrity might have resulted in a book about her life. Prying the book out of the tightly-packed shelf, I flipped through the pages and found the story of the first living creature to orbit the Earth.

B was still working on her resume, so I settled into an overstuffed chair and read the first third of the book while I waited for her. When she came looking for me I couldn’t put it back on the shelf, so I checked it out and finished it in just over an hour in the recliner with Bonkers snoring quietly in my lap.

It’s a sentimental story, but I like sentimental stories, and the author and writer Nick Abadzis didn’t try too hard to tug at my heartstrings. He didn’t have to; his leading lady was a pretty little dog with a curly tail and a deep-seated desire to please everyone she met. Who doesn’t like a doggie like that? And even though I knew how Laika’s story ended, I was genuinely surprised to feel a little lump in my throat as I turned the final pages.

Thumbs up. Look for it in the YA section of your local library.

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