CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 16 . . . . March 30, 2007
Crabtree has gone to the dogs, specifically to four breeds of dogs in its ever expanding “Pet Care” series. Having had both a dalmatian and a cocker spaniel as part of our household and having in-laws who owned poodles, I feel somewhat qualified to speak about the contents of this quartet of books. While the four books share a similar structure and some common information, an already dog-owning child will likely turn directly to the appropriate dog breed book while a youngster in search of a canine pet will quickly recognize the areas of overlap among the books and will focus just on each book’s unique aspects.
Following the standard Crabtree practice, each pair of facing pages constitutes a “chapter” so that the dog books each contain 14 chapters plus a closing page that both defines bolded words found throughout the text and provides a brief index. The four books all begin by introducing the breed in terms of its physical appearance, height, weight and history. The next section, consistently titled, “The right pet for you?” challenges readers to look past the “cute puppy” stage and to take a realistic look at the continuing demands that will be made upon the family by the adult pet dog. The books then consider how well each dog will respond to the type of home in which it will find itself. For example, apartment dwellers are discouraged from owning dalmatians, a breed that needs lots of space to exercise, while potential lab and cocker spaniel owners are cautioned that these two dog breeds do not like to be left alone. Toy poodles, readers are told, “can live comfortably in large, spacious homes or in small homes such as apartments.” Other important sections include one on how to choose your dog so that you’re selecting a healthy dog, another on feeding (plus what you should NOT feed a dog) and tips on housebreaking and training your dog. The books also supply an illustrated listing of the supplies and equipment required to take care of your canine. Safety, play and grooming tips are covered as is information on how to recognize when your dog may be unwell and needing to see a vet.
Despite the books’ inclusive titles, both Poodles and Cocker Spaniels limit their scope, the former to just toy poodles and the latter to American cocker spaniels. Oddly, only Poodles and Labrador Retrievers mention spreading newspapers around your home during the early stages of housebreaking. Marc Crabtree’s colour photos are both functional and entertaining, and the children in the photographs represent aspects of the cultural diversity found in Canada’s classrooms.
Public libraries, in particular, will want to have this quartet of books on hand for those children and their families who are entertaining the idea of getting a dog. As a whole, the books will assist potential dog owners in narrowing down their choices. For the child who is about to own one of the breeds, the appropriate title, as a home purchase, will provide a good initial pet care primer.
Now dogless, Dave Jenkinson teaches in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.