American Kennel Club: The New Complete Dog Book, 22nd Edition (Perseus Distribution Services, 2017, 920 pp., $49.99)
This is the official AKC bible for dogs, sporting more than 800 photos, 200 breeds, and nearly 1,000 pages. It begins with a history of the AKC and launches into anatomy, puppies, and dogs as sport—a short 45 pages. The main attraction is the alphabetical listing of dogs, organized by the sporting, hound, and working groups and then on to the terrier, nonsporting, and herding groups and miscellaneous class closing out the offerings. Color-coding makes the stout book easy to use, and a bound-in bookmark means readers can easily mark their place. A real keeper for a dog-lover’s bookshelf.
It’s never a bad idea to figure out ways to enhance your relationship with your dog, and that is what the author has in mind in this bright, info-packed training manual. From specific issues to general good manners, the author breaks each task into three steps: before you start, troubleshooting, and tip. Then she gets right down to business with written instructions and accompanying photos that show what she’s talking about. Lots of good stuff, including doggie behaviors that seem weird but are actually quite natural.
This is the how-to book that wannabe-canine artists deserve to find under their Christmas tree. The artist gears instructions toward pencil, pen-and-ink, and digital media users, so it works for a variety of artists and offers step-by-step suggestions for how to capture 100 breeds, from working dogs to the hounds and toy groups. Amberlyn starts at the basics: dog anatomy, covering the dog from head to toe as well as coats, movements, and expressions. Anyone will learn lots about her favorite dogs from studying this useful illustration instruction manual.
(Mostly) Picture Books
Your dog will love you more for trying your hand at these seemingly-healthy, tasty-sounding cookies, bars, drop cookies, cakes, and frozen treats. They all started for a dog named Kooper who suffered a malady that prevented him from eating off-the-shelf dog food and treats. Lucky him: His mom learned to cook for him. Most recipes here have a fairly finite number of ingredients, and the directions are often some form of “mix well and cook,” thus not too complicated. While they look pretty in print, the treats will taste fine—even if your presentation is a little off.
Dogs make our worlds go round, and journalist dog advocate Rebecca Asher-Walsh rounds up nearly 40 inspirational tales of dogs and what a difference they make to humans—or, in some cases, the animals—they serve. From Chaney, Klinger, and Elle to Dino, Kai, and Xander, these dogs and their stories will uplift your heart as they display grace under pressure, unwavering loyalty, and unquestioning acceptance.
Manny has 1 million Instagram (@Manny_the_Frenchie) followers and nearly 2 million Facebook friends, giving him cred as the “world’s most influential bulldog.” Named for boxer Manny Pacquiao, this Manny has been on TV, hung with Snoop Dog, and flown in a helicopter—and has the pictures to prove it. If you love Frenchies sleeping, smiling, dressed in costumes, chillaxing, clowning around, and just being, you’ll like flipping through the pages of this dog’s “memoir.”
If you haven’t experienced an I See Me! personalized children’s book, this represents a fine opportunity to do so. This is the company’s first for dog lovers, and the way it works is that purchasers answer a series of questions, select a representational dog, submit photos, and, voila! A book with personalized touches—down to the cover inscription and dedication—arrives in about two weeks. Your name, your dog’s name, your family members’ names appear on cups, towels, pet bowls, pet beds, etc., that show up in the illustrations accompanying the rhyming story about your dog’s very doggy life from your dog’s perspective. A “gift set” adds a bandana and/or placemat ($44.99 for book, bandana, placemat; $39.99 to add bandana or placemat to book). I See Me! partners with nonprofits to help rescues. Brilliant.
Larry Loves San Francisco (by John Skewes), San Francisco ABC (written and illustrated by John Skewes), Larry Gets Lost in San Francisco (illustrated by John Skewes, written by Michael Mullin and John Skewes)
San Francisco Bay Area youngsters ought to get a kick out of these John Skewes books that feature the antics of Larry, the dog, and his boy, Pete. Follow them over the Golden Gate Bridge, zigzagging down Lombard Street, and racing across Fisherman’s Wharf. Learn the ABCs with local landmarks, and follow Larry on his mad dash across the city to reunite with Pete.
This book has the trappings of a heartwarming holiday classic, namely families and a dog at Christmastime, and it begins by tugging heartstrings with a sickly runt of a puppy. The setting is rural Kansas where a holiday play is about to be upended by a Santa Claus upstart, schoolteacher Mary Ann McCray. Meanwhile, her grown son Todd is dead set on turning a shelter dog, Elle, into a service dog (“No, Elle!” is a constant refrain throughout). The challenges of a second family with marital issues emerges, and the resulting intersection of the families is the focus of the book.