NatGeo Kids has two books on dogs out, and they are ADORABLE. We’re in the Lunar Year of the Dog, May is National Pet Month, and today is National Pet Day – so what better time to celebrate our best friends? (Full disclosure: My cat scoffed at me as I ran this by her. But she’s a cat, so…)
Recommended for readers 8-13
Dogs have been our companions from the beginning: humans have had canine companions for more than 15,000 years. Dog Days of History is a kid-friendly look at that relationship through time; author Sarah Albee starts with the origins of the dog, from wolf to domesticated companion, to mixed breeds, and then takes us through an illustrated history of this long-lived relationship: from dogs in the ancient world, through the Middle Ages and Renaissance, to the present day and the future. We learn about dogs as pampered companions and hard workers; dogs like Balto, the famous sled dog who braved the Alaskan snow to bring medicine to the people of Nome, Alaska, and Laika, the canine cosmonaut who went to space in 1960.
There are great photos – it’s a NatGeo book – and fun facts aplenty throughout the book. One of my favorites is the list of common names for dogs in Ancient Egypt, which include “Good Herdsman”, “Grabber”, and “Blackie”. There are Algonquin names, too; my favorites are “Where’s That?” and “Ask Him”. Top Dog callouts highlight famous dogs in history, like Stubby, a stray bull terrier found by an American soldier in 1918, smuggled into France, and who went on to win medals of valor after warning a sleeping sergeant about a gas attack, locating wounded soldiers on the battlefield, and capturing a German spy. Want to translate dogspeak in other languages? There’s a list of how other dogs say “Bow-wow” in other languages. A comprehensive biblidography (that is not a typo) and list of rufferences (that’s not one, either), index, and further sources and places to visit make this slim volume a perfect gift for dog fans or an addition to your domestic animals collections.
Recommended for readers 3-6
Join the cutest group of puppies ever in this easy-to-read, fully illustrated chronicle of a puppy’s day! Join these pups on a daily routine of adventure as they wake up, explore and play, nap, have a nighttime treat, and get ready for bed. Is it ruff to be a pup? You be the judge.
This is one of those books I still haven’t been able to get through without squealing. Several times. My kiddo and I will be cuddling and reading, and I’ll just squeal, “LOOK AT THIS PUPPY FACE!”, which leads to my son looking at me and saying, “Mom. You SAY THAT ALL THE TIME.” But I digress.
There are spreads and standalone pages of full-color photos of puppies eating, playing, cuddling, and sleeping. The simple text is big, easy to read and great for storytime, and has colorful backgrounds to set them apart from the rest of the page. It’s a great way to talk about daily routines: ask the kids what they have in common with puppies!
I’m currently building up my pets and domesticated animals collection at my library, so these will be a nice, eye-catching add to my shelf. Make a nice doggie display with Science Comics’ volume on Dogs, and put some fun picture books and fiction on the shelf, too. Mainstays like Clifford and Carl books are great, as are books like Peter McCarty’s Hondo and Fabian, Jane Yolen’s Henry and Mudge and Puppy Mudge Easy Readers, Beverly Cleary’s classic, Ribsy, Ann M. Martin’s Autobiography of a Stray, and Because of Winn-Dixie. If you’re like me and don’t want to read doggie tearjerkers, From the Mixed-Up Files has a suggested “No Dead Dogs” reading list.