A note about The Cuddlywumps Chronicles

This blog is written and maintained by Miss Cuddlywumps, a fluffy-tailed calico cat who is both classically educated and familiar with mysteries. She receives creative input from the Real Cats and clerical assistance from She of Little Talent (old SoLT, a.k.a. Roby Sweet). Comments or complaints should be addressed to Miss C rather than to old SoLt (Ms. Sweet). Ms. Sweet accepts no responsibility for Miss C's opinions.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Cat Classics in Print: Space Cat

Cat Classics in Print

Today’s Cat Classic in Print is one for you fans of cats and space—and cats in space. It’s the children’s book Space Cat, written by Ruthven Todd and illustrated by Paul Galdone, and first published in 1952. This thin volume has recently been released in a new edition by Dover and will be followed by three more books in the series (Space Cat Visits Venus, Space Cat Meets Mars, and Space Cat and the Kittens), to be released over the coming months. We enjoyed this book both because it has a cat in a spaceship and because it offers a glimpse into the fantastical world of space as envisioned by humans nearly a decade before they actually left Earth’s orbit.

#catclassics #catsinspaceA teeny little bit about Ruthven Todd

We suspect not a lot of you have heard of Ruthven Todd (we certainly hadn’t). Well, Todd (1914–1978) was an Edinburgh-born poet and novelist who was also an artist, an amateur botanist, and a William Blake scholar. He began to publish his poetry in the 1940s. Also during this time, Todd wrote detective novels under the name R. T. Campbell. These novels feature a botanist who is also a sleuth. In 1947 Todd moved to the US, and he became a citizen in the 1950s. He died in Spain as a result of chronic lung disease. (Source: ScottishPoetry Library)

A teeny bit more about Space Cat

Space Cat is the story of a gray tabby cat who is possibly the most fearless feline ever. We first meet him as a kitten who manages to get himself onto an airplane, where he meets a man who turns out to be Captain Fred Stone, a pilot and soon-to-be first man on the moon. The captain names the kitten Flyball, and soon enough the adventurous little cat has taken over the experimental station where lots of military types are working on spaceflight. He sneaks onto a rocket for a test flight, after which the captain decides Flyball should accompany him to the moon. Over the objections of the Head Guys in Charge, the cat is fitted with a pressure suit (complete with an appendage for his tail), and a little hammock is created for him in the rocket. Then off to the moon he and the captain go.

The moon that Flyball lands on is very little like the one Neil Armstrong stepped onto in 1969. It is covered with fluffy dust that Flyball and the captain sink deep into, and there is life on it. A weird sort of plant-like life, but life nonetheless. Flyball is the one who discovers the life forms, and when the captain falls and gets a leak in his helmet, it is Flyball who saves him with help from some of those life forms. Hero!

Our verdict

This is such a fun little book! Both the story and illustrations are delightful (our favorite illustration shows the captain walking toward the rocket, carrying Flyball in his little pressure suit).

Space Cat was published 9 years before the first human ventured into space (Yuri Gagarin, 1961) and 17 years before the first moon landing. That means a couple of things. First, the illustrator and author could really put their imaginations to work in creating the world that Flyball enters. Second, we felt some dissonance between that fantastical world and the real one. Old SoLT just couldn’t stop herself from thinking about all the little ways the fantasy didn’t match up to the reality. But we think this just means you can read the book on more than one level. And old SoLT has to complain a little bit about the complete lack of female characters. Interesting comparisons could be made between Space Cat and the more recent CatStronauts series, which (a) has more real-sounding sciency stuff and (b) depicts females in prominent positions. How life has changed in 66 years!

As we said, Space Cat is a fun book that you can turn into something more serious if you are so inclined. Or you can do what Todd and Galdone probably meant for you to do: read it, look at the pictures, and enjoy it.


Two Paws Up! A Great Read

A note on the "Paws Up" system: Miss C gives either one or two paws up. One paw is for a good read; two paws is for a great read. She never gives three or four paws because that would require her to lie on her back...and Miss C does not do that!

The link below is an Amazon Associates link. If you purchase the book through this link, old SoLT and I could get some coin for our kibble account. Thank you!


  1. This sounds like a wonderful book for our collection. And a classic, too! Thanks for your review of it!

  2. We are working on a possible logo for Eastside Cats...that has kitties inside a spaceship! Imagine that!

  3. Oh this looks fun. Just the kind of book I like!!

  4. Great review. I have never heard of this book, but it sounds good.