Monday, March 2, 2009

Rockets, Jets, Guided Missiles and Space Ships (1951)

This is it my space minded friends, the number 1 children's space book. That is to say most people agree that this was the one that started the 1950s publication of children's space flight books. At least it was the first non-fiction book written for children about manned space flight.

Lot of things special about this book but chiefly it was the artist Jack Coggins. He created a set of space paintings that make you feel like he was the eyewitness for some space age that we never saw.

I should let the pictures speak for themselves but I need to add this book is cheap! You can find copies in reasonable condition for under $10. It was reprinted in the UK in 1953 so my readers from Project Sword Toys should look for a local copy in EBay UK or their local used bookstore.

Coggins, Jack and Pratt, Fletcher. Illustrated by Coggins, Jack. Rockets, Jets, Guided Missiles, and Space Ships. New York: Random House. (64 p.) 29 cm.

There was a sequel in 1952 called By Spaceship to the Moon, also reprinted in the UK in 1952.

With an introduction by Willy Ley, the book lays out the history and principles of rockets, focusing on their use in World War II. It then discusses the American experiments since the war, how rockets are a reality, and describes how a trip to the Moon might take place. Wonderful paintings of rockets, astronauts, space stations and a lunar lander, all in an industrial "forged metal" style.


  1. A wonderful tome, fantastic artwork.

  2. I was given this book as a Christmas present in 1951. I was 10 years old. It was instrumental in my continued interest in space travel. I later wrote a sci-fi play with Bowie music. And yes, I still have my copy.