Monday, December 4, 2023

Nonfiction Monday


A Book of Dogs (and other canines) by Katie Viggers offers young readers and entertaining and informative look at canines—familiar and exotic.


An introduction reminds readers that while all dogs are canines; not all canines are dogs. In fact, there are 30 species ranging from those we keep as pets to wolves, coyotes, jackals, foxes and wild dogs.

 Pet dogs receive the most attention in six double-page spreads that discuss breeds by group: Working, Herding, Hound, Sporting, Toy, and Terriers. These are six of the seven groups recognized by the American Kennel Club. I’m curious as to why the author omitted the non-sporting group which includes the easily recognized poodle, bulldog, Dalmatian, and other breeds that readers would find less-familiar.

 The second half of the book addresses several other interesting topics. First there’s a exploration of wild canines with a look at representative species like gray wolf, arctic wolf, black-backed jackal, and coyote. The author features 9 of the 30 breeds of fox and devotes attention to wild dogs—dingo, African painted dog and others. She also offers a humorous look at racoon dogs vs racoons, and reminds the audience not to be confused by the term prairie dog.

 The book concludes with a variety of useful topics. There’s information on the importance of the many different jobs dogs perform for people such as rescue or therapy and service in the military. The many different ways in which dogs communicate through body language and vocalization receives thoughtful attention. Agility training receives a nod and the book closes with a map showing the general ranges of wild canines.

The language is both informative and the conversational tone makes it an easy read. The illustrations utilize sidebars, and colored text boxes to hold reader attention and provide visual interest.

 For ages 4-6.

Recommended as an introduction to the subject for young readers. 

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