Cindy: Comic-book collections are immensely popular in my middle-school libraries. Fox Trot, Zits, Calvin & Hobbes, Garfield, Peanuts . . . they all circulate nonstop. You really don’t need us to blog about those, but I want to be sure that you don’t miss this year’s Dogs Are People, Too: A Collection of Cartoons to Make Your Tail Wag, by Dave Coverly. If there’s anything more popular than the comics, it’s the dog books, and this combo is sure to be a hit with teens and adults, especially those who have lived with a dog. Coverly is the creator of one of my favorite single-panel comics, Speed Bump, and this draws heavily from the canine entries in that comic, supplemented his work in other places. One of them is the popular BarkBox, the mailorder surprise package subscription service for lucky pups. I treated my granddogs to a few months of that and the Mardi Gras–themed package was a hit.
Dog ownership is at once highly personal
and completely universal.
Back to the book. The comics are organized in chapters by topic: “Sniffing, Barking, Eating, Pooping,” “Working Like a Dog,” and “Dogs Behaving Badly,” for example. In between those chapters are autobiographical essays about Dave and his own dogs, starting with Teddy, his grandparents’ dog. Dog ownership is at once highly personal and completely universal. What better format to express that than in this collection of stellar comics and personal stories. You may want to buy two. Woof!
Lynn: The focus group usually really enjoys testing books for us and sometimes it is a major challenge for me to get the book away from them so I can read it! This time I had to take turns not only with them but with my husband, too! Needless to say, this collection was a howling success with us all. [Woof!—Ed.] But I need to put my reviewer hat on for a little bit, so I’ll mention one of the interesting chapters slotted between the cartoons called “Five Famous Dogs.” Here Coverly has provided short essays on five truly amazing dogs. You may have heard of some of them, such as Laika, the Soviet space dog. Four of them were new to me, though, including Barry, the real Saint Bernard who rescued people in the snowy Alps and is the basis for lots of cartoons. There is also Robot, the little terrier who discovered the entrance to the Caves of Lascaux, and tiny Smoky, credited with being the first therapy dog after serving in WWII as well.
I’m sure there is more fun to talk about but the book has mysteriously disappeared again. Take Cindy’s advice and buy several!