dog days

Dog Days Of Summer In Books

dog days

Summer is now officially upon us. What better way to enjoy the hot, steamy weather than with some terrific books…and some really cool air conditioning.

Dog parks are becoming increasingly popular. But letting Woman’s Best Friend off the leash means that obedience training is a must. Fortunately, we have a top notch book written by the experts to help us out. There’s a newly revised version of THE ART OF RAISING A PUPPY by The Monks of New Skete. With more than 600,000 copies sold over the last twenty years, the monks of rural Cambridge, New York, are the acknowledged masters of how to gently raise a dog to be an affectionate and well behaved member of the family.

As all canine lovers know, EVERY DOG HAS A GIFT. Author Rachel McPherson is the founder and Executive Director of The Good Dog Foundation, which has been honored for work with the families of victims of 9/11, and those suffering from the effects of Hurricane Katrina. This collection of inspiring stories of service dogs and pets is a perfect gift, and a wonderful way to pass a summer day.

Pat Shipman’s THE ANIMAL CONNECTION takes a more scholarly look at the bond between pets and their humans. The interdependence of species for the benefit of all can be traced through fossils and other anthropological findings. Throughout our history on this planet, our nurturing of other species has made us better people. I also love the picture of the Shar-Pei on the cover.

What goes together more naturally than children and animals? Almost every kid I know has made a DINOSAUR DISCOVERY, and is fascinated by these huge prehistoric creatures. Chris McGowan has written a workbook with twenty-five experiments, which will keep young (and not so young) minds active during school vacation. This former curator of Canada’s Royal Ontario Museum has given us a wealth of information about these intriguing giants who once roamed the Earth.

On the other hand, Michelle Meadows’s PIGGIES IN THE KITCHEN are just plain fun. When they decide to break into the kitchen to do a little baking, mayhem ensues. All’s well when Mama Piggy comes home to a delicious birthday surprise.

Barbara Beery’s PINK PRINCESS PARTY COOKBOOK offers a great opportunity to bond with a little girl who loves to help whip things up in the kitchen. The recipes have charming names; who could resist Prancing Pony Cupcakes and Mermaid Castle Party Punch? An added bonus is the measurement conversion chart for the U.S., Canada, and Australia.

Elanna Allen has written and directed short films for Nickelodeon, and has even directed a music video for Moby. In ITSY MITSY RUNS AWAY, she uses her delightful imagination to introduce us to a little spitfire who packs up her dog Puptart, and plans to run away from bedtime forever. Of course, this turns out to be a pretty tiring task.

I’ve discovered two perfect little books to read with preschoolers, and those about to enter the challenging land of primary education. I LOVE MY MOM, by Australian writer Anna Walker, takes us through a pretty exciting journey with Ollie and his mother. There’s laundry to hang on the line, butterflies to play with, and a sweet goodnight kiss at the end of the busy day.

The companion book, I LOVE MY DAD, shows Ollie and his father baking banana bread and making hot cocoa for everyone. What a charming way to gently disavow the largely accepted but ultimately stifling stereotype of male bonding!

Summer evokes dreams and memories of kids running around barefoot, having fun and making a racket; add a couple of barking dogs with furiously wagging tails, and the picture’s complete.

Just don’t forget the sunblock, a long cool drink, and some fun books that everyone can enjoy together.

To buy any of the featured books on Amazon, click on the title.

Michall Jeffers is an accomplished Cultural Journalist and an avowed bibliophile. She writes extensively, both in print and online. Her eponymous cable TV show is syndicated throughout the tri-state area, and features celebrity interviews, reviews, and commentary. Michall is a voting member of National Book Critics Circle. www.michalljeffers.com

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