The first monkey in space – a true story – and a children’s book that made me cry.

Independence, Kansas is where she called home.
Her habitat was an island with a castle, this much was known.

Miss Able is a rhesus monkey born in Independence, Kansas in 1957. She lived in the zoo in a small stone castle called Monkey Island. This story is based on truth.

Click on the book cover to purchase from Amazon.

Mickey Mantle played behind that big cement wall,
gathering a crowd to watch the night game of baseball.

Located near Monkey Island was Shulthis Stadium, a baseball stadium where Mickey Mantle started his professional career with the Independence Yankees in 1949.

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All of a sudden there was a loud CRACK!
The baseball was hit with a hard WHACK!
Miss Able heard “Mantle” then looked up to see

Something white flash beyond the trees.
A shooting star, so bright and fast.
Oh, how she wished it could have last.

Mickey Mantle hit his first professional home run on June 30, 1949 and it went over the center field wall at Shulthis Stadium. The ball was last seen heading towards Monkey Island, a distance of 600 feet from home plate.

The Stadium in Independence was also famous because the first ever night game in the history of Organized baseball was played there in 1930 – 19 years earlier.

Miss Able laid back, looking up into the dark sky,
to see if there would be a shooting star passing by.
Oh, how she dreamed to go into space,
being a shooting star zooming at a fast pace.

The next day some very important men appeared.
They were looking for a special monkey that had no fear.
They wanted to know if something alive
could go to outer space and survive.

In the rocket the monkey would be placed,
Then sent off to venture in outer space.
One look at her and the men knew
Miss Able was the one they would choose.

Miss Able went into space aboard a NASA Jupiter rocket on May 28, 1959. The rocket traveled 300 miles in altitude with a speed of up to 10,000 mph.

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They placed her in the tip of the rocket,
putting some bananas in her pocket.
They buckled her in and closed the door.
The rocket started with a LOUD ROAR!


The rocket progressed up 300 miles,
While Miss Able was sporting a smile.

In an instant, the nose of the rocket
detached itself from the sockets.
It took a plunge, descending down,
then launched into the sea where it was later found.

She survived the trip into space, becoming the first American astronaut to do so. At the time it provided the best evidence that mankind could live in space.

So it’s been told, that people looked up into the night sky
and witnessed the brightest shooting star whizzing by.

She couldn’t believe it, her dream had come true!
Miss Able…the shooting star that everyone knew.

Miss Able was on the cover of Life Magazine in 1959.

Kim McGrath wrote the children’s story called A Fable about Miss Able that can be purchased on Amazon.
Kim lives close to Dallas, Texas, and has three children. She loves hiking and rock-hounding. Sharing her passion for story-time with her first-grade students has led Kim to become an author of three children’s books.

Mark Metcalf wrote the brief history of Miss Able’s rocket flight into space.

Jillian Jo Hagerty did the illustrations.
BLOG TOPICS: I write in-depth blogs about a mix of topics: Health and Hiking, and Science and Energy, and Inspiration and Hope.
The Gray Nomad ….. What fun it is to see truth through the eyes of a child.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. [Book of Micah, chapter 6.]

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