Our Dogs, Ourselves: How We Live with Dogs

S. & S. Aug. 2020. 208p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534410121.
Gr 3-7–In this young readers adaptation of the adult title by the same name, Horowitz delves into topics about dogs and pet ownership that aren’t often found in similar nonfiction books. This middle grade text is a personal and somewhat scientific examination of subjects such as dog naming, breeding, the history of dog ownership, and surgical alteration. Along with statistics, Horowitz provides insight into her own relationship with dogs. She shares her opinions on spaying and neutering, dressing dogs up, and leaving them home alone during the day. While the author does provide facts, the commentary is more prominent than the statistics and hard research. For example, chapter 14 discusses dog-related humor. Horowitz writes, “Ever since I did a study to figure out if dogs with a guilty look are actually feeling shame, I haven’t been able to find any humor in the sharing of ‘dog shaming’ photos on the Internet.” This could have been a prime opportunity to spotlight specific findings from that study, numerical data, or footnotes. However, the chapter focuses more on Horowitz’s personal observations rather than highlighting scientific reports that are accessible for the target audience.
VERDICT Recommended for larger collections. The book could be used as a research source to complement heartier texts.

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