Holiday Reading

Book Reviews By C. Warner Sills

JShelter Dogs
By Traer Scott
(Merrell Publishing)

While many pet photography books showcase the crème de la crème of breed-specific animals, photographer Traer Scott decided to chronicle the not so glamorous but equally beautiful side of shelter dogs. Through a collection of fifty stunning and endearing sepia tone portraits, Scott documents the beauty and sadness behind the abandoned and often overlooked treasures waiting for a home at local shelters. Most importantly, the book serves as a sobering reminder of the ever-growing number of dogs in need of help and a loving home.

Women’s Best Friend
Women Writers On the Dogs in Their Lives
Edited by Megan McMorris
(Seal Press)

Ever questioned the age-old, gender-biased saying, “Dogs are a man’s best friend?” If so, then this collection of essays about dogs from a group of women writers may be just your ticket. Contributing female scribes share their touching stories, thoughts, and recollections about their furry friends. Sometimes funny, sometimes heartrending but always moving, this book captures the loving union between women and their canine comrades.

Planet Dog
A Doglopedia
By Sandra & Harry Choron
(Houghton Mifflin Company)

Ever pondered how Bloodhounds got such a macabre name or how to say dog in 131 languages? Planet Dog: A Doglopedia answers these questions and more. This comprehensive book pretty much covers any inquiry about canine culture that comes to mind. Jam-packed with interesting facts, trivia questions, photos, and humorous anecdotes, it’s the perfect companion piece for anyone curious about learning more about the history of the hound, or “hund” in German.

Men & Dogs, Women & Dogs
By Judith Watt & Peter Dyer
(Atria Books)

Dogs aren’t just “man’s best friend.” These companion books feature a collection of photographs of famous men and women from the past and present with their canine companions. From Elvis Presley’s ‘Hound Dog,’ Sweet Pea to Elizabeth Taylor’s Shih Tzus, Georgia, these books combine memorable photographs with endearing personal stories to show a glimpse of the pet-loving side of these prominent men and women.

Not Left Behind
Rescuing the Pets of New Orleans
By Bob Somerville & Troy Snow
(Yorkville Press)

Amidst the chaos during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina the people at Best Friends Animal Society sent a team of rescuers down to New Orleans, determined to save animals from the flooded cities. This book of stunning photographs and riveting stories documents the band of courageous volunteers, who in turn saved roughly 4,000 dogs, cats and other pets from the wrath of this country’s most devastating natural disaster.

Portraits of Dogs
By Kim Levin
(Andrews McMeel)

With ten portraiture books under her thumb, photographer Kim Levin might be the foremost pet photographer working today. Her most recent endeavor features a diverse collection of vibrant photographs documenting dogs in all kinds of poses and pedigrees. Levin highlights the eccentric, mischievous, and loving spirits of our canine pals, resulting in a charming book that you won’t be able to keep your paws off.

A Kitten’s Guide to Happiness
By Rachael Hale
(Bulfinch Press)

Ever wondered why cats are notoriously curious? Acclaimed animal photographer and author, Rachael Hale’s new book, Smitten, provides an enchanting glimpse into the minds and actions of an array of loveable kittens. The book combines wonderful photographs of little ones exploring their surroundings with age-old proverbs and maxims chock full of wisdom. While the images are often silly, the book promotes an appreciation of the playful and carefree lifestyle of our furry, feline friends.

A Dog’s Night Before Christmas &
A Cat’s Night Before Christmas
By Henry Beard
(Broadway Books)

In these adorable and witty illustrated retellings of the classic Christmas tale, “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” the stirrings on the Eve of Christmas morning are chronicled from the point of view of the family cat or dog. Author Henry Beard, best known as the founder of National Lampoon magazine, does a wonderful job blending silly humor and sweet holiday cheer to this timeless classic story, with a pet-friendly twist.

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