With all the time I’ve spent lapping up dog research in the last couple of years, I’ve dug up several fun science books. I’m pawsitive one of these will make your young dog-lover howl with delight.*
*Four dog puns in two sentences. I should win a prize–or perhaps get beaned in the head with a can of dog food.
Dogs and Cats by Steve Jenkins. This is a picture book, but it has significant blocks of text on each page, so it may be a bit long to read aloud in one sitting. It describes the history of both pets and how their wild origins impact their current behavior. The pictures are classic Steve Jenkins delights.
Dogs: From Predator to Protector (Science Comics) by Andy Hirsch . Don’t let the comic book style of this book deceive you. Science is well-suited to the graphic novel format because so many science concepts are essentially visual. This book takes advantage of the format to include thoughtful diagrams, charts, and infographics. It is full of science, as well as a fun and informative read. An early elementary child could enjoy this with an adult, but it’s not babyish. Even an adult would find it informative.
Inside of A Dog: What dogs See, Smell, and Know, Young Readers Edition by Alexandra Horowitz. This is a well-done abridgement of Horowitz’s best-selling deep dive into dog senses. This edition shortens some of Horowitz’s “asides,” simplifies the vocabulary, and changes some of the examples to situations that kids are more familiar with. But it does a good job of retaining the cool science and Horowitz’s voice from the original. Perfect for 8-12 year-olds.
How to Speak Dog: A Guide to Decoding Dog Language by Aline Alexander Newman. This one from National Geographic Kids is just what it sounds like. Great photographs and fun text show readers how to interpret the body language of dogs. At 176 pages, it’s also for the 8 to 12 year-old set (thought with plenty to offer an older reader).
A Dog in the Cave: The Wolves who Made Us Human by Kay Frydenborg. The strength of this book is that it contains some of the most recent research into the origins of dogs, and looks into some of the places where scientists are still hashing out the story. From there, it moves into current research on dog senses and modern evolutionary changes. I believe this book is being marketed as YA nonfiction (age 12 and up). With 256 text-heavy pages, it’s shorter than a typical nonfiction book geared to adults, but no less sophisticated in its language or content.
And, of course, I have to put a plug in for Dog Science Unleashed: Fun Activities to Do with Your Canine Companion. In this book, kids can explore the science of dogs WITH their dogs, doing fun, safe experiments and reading about the science behind them. Available for pre-order now!