Who Doesn’t Love Dogs?

Or at least books about dogs? This year’s Hub Challenge list included two great dog books, the nonfiction title, How to Speak Dog by Aline Alexander Newman and Gary Weitzman, D.V.M. and the graphic novel, Dogs of War by Sheila Keenan and Nathan Fox.

Cover of How to Speak Dog by Newman and WeitzmanHow to Speak Dog: A Guide to Decoding Dog Language by Aline Alexander Newman and Gary Weitzman, D.V.M. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2013.

Dog language is, of course, much more than just the sounds they make. Posture, ear position, and how a dog is holding its tail are essential parts of canine communication. Most dog owners will be familiar with at least some of these poses, like the play bow. But this book also addresses problem behavior like why dogs chew things or chase their tails. This is a great introduction to dog behavior that may tempt animal-loving reluctant readers.

Dogs of War by Keenan and FoxDogs of War by Sheila Keenan and Nathan Fox. New York: Graphix, 2013.

This graphic novel is a collection of three adventure stories about amazing dogs based on real military history. These brave war dogs saved the lives of many young soldiers. Boots is a mercy dog in World War I, leading medics to wounded soldiers. Loki is a rescue sled dog in Greenland. The final story is about Sheba, a scout dog during the Vietnam War. This story focuses on the returned soldier remembering his time serving with Sheba. It is by far the most moving of the three stories, capturing both the terrible effects of war on those fighting and the incredibly strong bonds between the handlers and their dogs. Fox’s illustrations capture the unique environments of each story, from the dark, enclosed trenches contrasted with open no man’s land where so much of World War I was fought, to the blinding snowstorms of rescue operations in the Arctic during World War II, to the nearly impenetrable jungles of Vietnam where soldiers fought an enemy they couldn’t see. A good pick for fans of war stories, action, dogs, and graphic novels.

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About booksnquilts

I'm the Children's Services Coordinator for the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library in Central Virginia.
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