In time for National Puppy Day (March 23) and to celebrate the Year of the Dog, National Geographic is publishing not one, but two great nonfiction children’s books about dogs.
It’s a Puppy’s Life by photographer Seth Casteel is a picture book with an irresistible combination of adorable photographs of puppies and romping, bouncy partially-rhyming text.
As we would expect from National Geographic, the photographs are fantastic, funny and cute. We see puppies playing, sniffing, making a mess, and sleeping.
Where’s the science? In the back matter are 32 thumbnails of the photographs used in the book with captions that identify each by breed. The puppies range from basset hounds to Yorkshire terriers, allowing readers to explore the concept of inheritance and variation of traits, a Next Generation Science standard.
Even the most reluctant reader is going to enjoy It’s a Puppy’s Life. It is an obvious choice for anyone who is a dog enthusiast, plus would be a great choice to share for National Puppy Day, March 23.
The second book is the middle grade title Dog Days of History: The Incredible Story of Our Best Friends by Sarah Albee.
In this title, Albee starts out with a discussion of where dogs come from. The scientific name for dogs is Canis lupus familiaris, which indicates it is a subspecies of wolf (Canis lupus). In fact, dogs share most of their DNA with wolves, but show incredible variation in appearances.
The remainder of the book progresses in chronological order, with chapters exploring the relations of people and dogs in the ancient world, middle ages, etc., through modern times. Albee features famous dogs through history, like Lewis and Clark’s dog, Seaman. The final chapter wraps up with the role of dogs in modern culture and a glimpse of the future of dogs.
It’s a great reference for dog lovers that they will return to again and again.
See Growing with Science blog for the rest of the review, plus suggested science activities to accompany the books.