Review Detail

Middle Grade Non-Fiction 54
Interesting Way to Map the History of Dog Breeds
Overall rating
 
4.7
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
5.0
Learning Value
 
5.0
As much as I love dogs, I've never really thought about where the difference breeds originated! Poodles are my favorite, due to their small size and large intelligence, although my Shih Tzu Poodle mix Pongo has convinced me that there is something to be said for a breed raised to be lap dogs! Atlas of Dogs takes a deep dive not only into the place of origins of breeds, but into their personalities and histories, and was a fascinating look at many difference types of dogs of which I had never even heard!

Heaton's artwork really makes this shine, even though some readers might want photographs; young readers are far more likely to whip out a phone and look up pictures than I am, so I don't think the lack of photographs matters. The colors are absolutely gorgeous, and the illustrations allow the text to be arranged in very pleasing ways on the page, with background cleverly worked in. The maps of the continents are particularly nice, and beg to be hung on walls, but are two page spreads, so have a divide in the center. Lonley Planet should really make these into posters!

After the maps of the continents, there are brief descriptions of a variety of dogs found there, each getting half of a page. The physical attributes particular to the breed are pointed out for each dog with arrows and labels. There are a lot of bits of additional information as well. Between descriptions, there are spreads on topics like Dogs with Jobs, Record-Breaking Dogs, and A Pup's Life. A glossary and index round out this well designed book.
Good Points
In addition to being a fun book for canine fans, I can see this being an interesting book to include in a science class covering genetics and animal adaptations. Since Shih Tzus like Pongo no longer have to make emperors happy, and even Golden Retrievers don't necessarily spend any time retrieving things, it's interesting to take a look at the history of how and why dogs were bred for different purposes. I can't think of another book that includes so much information about place and how the dogs' qualities were formed by their sites of origins. Add this to a diverse group of books about various aspects of dogs in the lives of humans that includes Albee's 2018 Dog Days of History, Horowitz's 2020 Our Dogs, Ourselves, Miles' 2013 Guide to Puppies, and Stall's 2005 The Good, the Bad, and the Furry.
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