Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sparky the Space Chimp (1967)

Sparky the Space Chimp was a 1967 Australian book used in school, it was also reprinted in 1975 (below).

As you can see it was intended as "interesting reading" for children practicing their reading skills.  The actual era of using chimps for space flight was very short but they persisted in school books.  I think this may have been becasue the actual events were moving too fast for a book about the manned programs not to be quickly out of date.

Sparky the Space Chimp. Brisbane, Qld. : Jacaranda. 61 p. 1967. Endeavour Reading Programme No. 5
The paintings in the book are a nice snapshot of how other countries viewed out space efforts.

I have also speculated that "chimps in space" is a realistic surrogate for children. A child could imagine themselves on the same adventure.

The painted details are obviously fiction if you have ever seen the actual photographs of the monkey and chimp flights. Nevertheless they were space heroes and it is nice to remember thier adventures.


  1. NASA Rule #23

    Every civilian who loads a monkey into one of our rockets must be accompanied by his youngest child. Safety helmets optional.

  2. The story even lived on into the 21st century. Does anyone else remember the 2001 movie "Race to Space", which featured James Woods as a german rocket scientist and a Mercury Redstone chimp flight?

  3. i remember this book as a kid in 1971 when i was in grade 2 at Ayr, Qld Australia. I loved the story and the images

    1. Yes I remember this book, my brother bought it home and we started calling him sparky the chimp. We still use this name for him now 30 years later.

  4. I remember getting this book to take home in 1979 as the first book we were to read and the excitement I felt because I could keep it overnight is what made this book stay in my memories forever