Tag: good dog reads
Clifford, who has always been so much more than big, so much more than red, is now more than half a century old.
Clifford turned 50 Monday.
And he had a big red birthday party — many of them, in fact.
While his birthday was celebrated in schools across the country, the biggest shindig was in New York, where students sang happy birthday outside the headquarters of his publishing company and Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared it Clifford the Big Red Dog Day.
Clifford’s creator, Norman Bridwell, took questions from first- and second-graders during a webcast shown there and beamed live into more than 5,000 classrooms around the country.
Bridwell, 84, told the Associated Press, his initial plans were for Clifford to be as big as a horse; eventually, though, Clifford became bigger than a house. He ended up red because that’s the color of the jar of paint Bridwell had nearby.
“I don’t really understand it,” he said of Clifford’s enduring nature. “Whether it’s his color, or if it’s the fact that he’s clumsy, like a lot of kids are clumsy.”
Bridwell’s daughter, upon whom the character Emily in the books is based, told reporters her artist father and his wife, Norma, were struggling to earn a living in New York when Norma suggested he try his hand at illustrating children’s books. Norma came up with the name Clifford, too, based on an imaginary friend she had as a girl.
Bridwell’s daughter, now a teacher, was a one-year-old at the time.
Bridwell shopped his drawings around, meeting initially with rejection. Eventually, he and Clifford were welcomed at Scholastic, and the company provided Bridwell with “10 Big Ideas” around which to fashion the stories, including sharing, respect, believing in oneself and helping others.
Today, Clifford is part of elementary school curriculum, and more than 126 million copies of the 90 books about the big and big-hearted dog are in print in 13 languages, in addition to a TV show, plush toys, a magazine and, yes — who says old dogs can’t learn new tricks? – even a Clifford app.
(Photos: Courtesy of Scholastic)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 25th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 50, 50th, big, big red dog, birthday, books, books on dogs, bridwell, celebrate, children's books, clifford, curriculum, dog, dog books, elementary, good dog reads, lessons, norma, norman bridwell, red, schools, students, teachers
It’s a children’s story, centered around an aging boxer named Snort and the two children who love him.
But it’s a tale that applies to any grieving pet owner, serving to remind us, when that sad and difficult time comes, not to dwell on what you have lost but to celebrate the dog you got to have, and reflect on all he taught you.
In reasoned tones, and without relying once on that old fallback, ”The Rainbow Bridge,” it tells the story of a family that loses their dog, works through their grief and honors him in healthy and respectful ways.
The book centers on a boxer named Snort, and the two children, Savy and Sunne, who worry when he gets too sick to chase his ball.
Savy’s parents explain that Snort will need to leave their family because it’s the only way that Snort’s pain will go away.
Savy accepts that, but isn’t so sure how she will cope without her best friend.
In “Snort’s Special Gift,” Savy and her family explore different ways to grieve for and remember a beloved pet — from planting a tree in his memory to crafting tributes, like the one Savy composes in his honor.
In the end, Savy discovers that all the gifts Snort shared with her in life will, like his memory, always be there.
The author of the book, Suzann Yue, lives with her two adopted children and husband in Medina, Minnesota , where she coaches martial arts and is a photographer. She has won eight world karate championship titles, and started a karate school specializing in training children with attention deficit disorders.
The remarkable illustrations were done by Lin Wang, who received a bachelor of fine arts degree from Guangzhou Academy and a Masters degree from Savannah College of Art and Design. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and children.
(For all our news and reviews of dog books, visit our “Good Dog Reads“ page.)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 17th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, beaver pond books, book, books, books on dogs, childrens book, death, dogs, gift, gifts, good dog reads, grief, grieving, lin wang, loss, mourning, pets, review, savy, snort, snorts special gift, sunne, suzann yue
For the one in five children who learn they need to wear glasses, and maybe aren’t feeling the best about it, Arlo can help.
Arlo’s a shaggy, free-spirited dog who loves to play catch, until one day he finds he can’t. Unable to see the ball anymore, he learns he needs glasses.
Arlo Needs Glasses (Workman Publishing) is the latest book from Barney Saltzberg, the bestselling (and bespectacled) author of Beautiful Oops!, Peekaboo Kisses, and Good Egg.
The book was inspired by Saltzberg’s own dog. Just like his character, the real-life Arlo is not very good at playing catch either, although he loves to play.
“He just couldn’t get the ball to land in his mouth,” Saltzberg says. “We tried over and over and I honestly had never seen anything like it.”
The interactive picture book is intended to helps kids see the fun in wearing glasses. Children get to do just what Arlo does to solve his problem: They read an eye chart, look through a fold-out phoropter (that big machine optometrists use), and try on different pairs of glasses — from movies star glasses to superhero glasses to mad scientist glasses.
Arlo, though we hate to give away the ending, becomes the best ball-catcher in the neighborhood, and picks up a new hobby along the way — reading.
In connection with the book’s release in July, the publisher sponsored a “My Dog Needs Glasses” contest, inviting pet owners to submit photos of their dogs in glasses. That’s one of them, Wilson, to the left.
Five winners will be chosen to win signed copies of the book. The deadline to enter has passed, but you can see some of the contenders here.
Saltzberg is the award-winning author-illustrator of Beautiful Oops!, the successful Kisses series, Peekaboo, Crazy Hair Day, and Good Egg, as well as many other beloved children’s books. Also a singer-songwriter, he has written tunes for the PBS show “Arthur” and continues to perform music for children.
(For more news and reviews about dog books, visit our Good Dog Reads page.)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 2nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: arlo, arlo needs glasses, ball, barney saltzberg, books, books on dogs, catch, children, children's books, contest, dog books, glasses, good dog reads, need, photo, play, spectacles, wearing, workman, workman publishing
In 2007, it was one of the most sickening, disheartening stories of the year — NFL quarterback Michael Vick’s arrest and imprisonment on dogfighting charges. Revelations of what transpired at Bad Newz Kennels showed just how cruel some humans can be.
By 2009, though, the story of Vick’s dogs had become one of the most heartening of the decade. What made the difference? Mainly, the dogs – the pit bulls. For despite what they’d been put through, despite being abused, trained as killers or used as bait, they were — once the decision was made not to euthanize them – amazing the world with their remarkable resiliency.
Saving and rehabilitating the former fighting dogs of Michael Vick was not achieved without a battle, and not without the efforts of a lot of dog-loving, self-sacrificing humans. But the silver lining that eventually shone through the dismal story was provided mainly by the dogs, who showed that, no matter how bad a human messes them up, there’s hope.
Once again, the irrepressible species was teaching us humans a lesson.
Vick’s former pit bulls have gone on to reside in new homes with young children, become cherished pets, serve as therapy dogs and, in many cases, serve as shining examples of what is right with and special about the much-maligned breed.
How all that transpired is rivetingly detailed in a new book by Jim Gorant, “The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption.”
(For a preview, you can read an article by Gorant in today’s Parade magazine.)
In the book, to be released next month, Gorant expands on his 2008 Sports Illustrated story on the Vick dogs (the one that featured Baltimore’s own Sweet Jasmine on the cover), recounting how they were rescued from Vick’s estate and how — though euthanasia was routine until then for animals seized from dogfighting operations – they were saved from that fate by an outpouring of public appeals.
The outcry helped lead to a court order that Vick pay nearly a million dollars in “restitution” to the dogs — money used to allow a handful of agencies across the country to rehabilitate them.
The book recounts the ASPCA-led evaluations of each dog — and how, though there were a few hardened fighters among them, many more were dogs ready to be loved, ready to forgive and try to forget.
In “The Lost Dogs,” we learn more about Johnny Justice, the former Vick dog that participates in Paws for Tales, which lets kids get more comfortable with their reading skills by reading aloud to dogs; about Leo, who now spends three hours a week with cancer patients and troubled teens; and about Sweet Jasmine, who was coming out of her shell while living in Baltimore until she got loose and was hit by a car.
The book lists the outcomes for all 49 of the surviving pit bulls that were seized in April 2007 from Bad Newz Kennels, the Smithfield, Va., dogfighting ring run by Vick, then quarterback of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, now — getting a multi-million dollar second chance of his own — a quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles.
While experts were expecting only 5 percent of Vick’s dogs could be rehabilitated, only two, initially, had to be put down. One was excessively violent and the other was suffering from an irreparable injury. For the rest, though, there was hope, and no small amount of faith – which, more than anything else is what “The Lost Dogs” is about.
Rather than showing aggression, the Vick dogs tended to be “pancake dogs”— animals so traumatized that they flattened themselves on the ground and trembled when humans neared, much like our friend Mel, the former Vick dog we recently met in our travels through Dallas.
Many more seemed to be dogs with normal temperaments, but who had simply never been socialized.
Accomplishing that fell to the handful of animal welfare organizations that stepped forward, offering to take the Vick dogs in and work to rehabilitate them — among them Baltimore’s Recycled Love, California’s BAD RAP, (Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pitbulls), and Best Friends Animal Society in Utah.
As Gorant writes in the Parade magazine article, “… rescuers argued from the start that rather than be condemned as a whole, the dogs should be individually assessed and treated — and this has turned out to be one of the great lessons of the Bad Newz dogs. Generalizations and preconceptions are as unhelpful and counterproductive for pit bulls as they are for people.”
Posted by jwoestendiek August 15th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animals, article, aspca, bad newz, bad rap, best friends, book, case, court, cruelty, dog books, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogs, euthanasia, good dog reads, jim gorant, lesson, lost dogs, magazine, maligned, michael vick, michael vick's dogs, nfl, parade, pets, philadelphia eagles, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, recycled love, redemption, rehabilitation, rescue, resiliency, saving, socialization, sports illustrated, sweet jasmine, temperament, the lost dogs, therapy dogs, vick, vick dogs
Carol Prisant, though she grew up in a less than pet-friendly home, was pretty sure she was a dog lover, but it took awhile for her to get it right.
With humans, on the other hand, she appears to have succeeded the first time, and her 42-year marriage to husband Millard is the other ongoing theme of her often hilarious, often poignant, but never syrupy memoir.
While the book is about love and loss and dogs — all subjects prone to sappy treatment — Prisant’s sense of humor, honesty and willingness to admit she may not have always been the perfect pet owner make for some fun and refreshing reading.
Prisant, when it comes to the pets in her life, starts at the beginning — with the goldfish that her pet-challenged mother flushed down the toilet, a stinky dime store turtle she subsequently released into the wild, a bird whose toes fell off after she brought it home from Woolworth’s and a monkey that fell in love with her husband’s leg.
Eventually she and her husband work their way up to dogs, including Cosi, a Jack Russell terrier, Fluffy, a purebred collie, and Blue and Billy and Emma and Jimmy Cagney and Juno — to name a few.
All of them had their idiosyncrasies. Some, she admits, were more than they could handle. Some moved on to new homes, and new ones would arrive — up to and after the death of her husband.
“Dog House” is more than a book about dogs, though. It’s about the love of a mother for her son, and, most of all, a wife for her husband.
Prisant is the American editor of the Condé Nast publication The World of Interiors, and author of “Good, Better, Best,” ”Antiques Roadshow Primer,” and “Antiques Roadshow Collectibles.”
(For more news and reviews of dog books, visit our “Good Dog Reads” page.)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 22nd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, books, books on dogs, carol prisant, death, dog books, dog house, dogs, goldfish, good dog reads, gotham, grief, jack russell terrier, loss, love story, monkey, ohmidog!, penguin, pets, turtle
Your dog licks your face because he loves you, right?
Ah, if it were only that simple.
There are those that will assure you that yes, those licks mean affection — your “fur babies” are showering you with, in addition to a little slobber, love and gratitude.
There are also those more scientific types who will dissect the act so emotionlessly as to leave you never wanting another lick again — or perhaps even another dog, or at least not another dog book.
Thank Dog, then, for Alexandra Horowitz, who in her new book “Inside of a Dog,” manages to probe doggie behavior in a manner both scientific and passionate, without stomping on the sanctity of the human-dog bond like it’s a cigarette in need of extinguishing.
The book’s title comes from the Groucho Marx quote: “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”
What makes “Inside of a Dog,” released in September, one of the best dog books of the year is that it’s not too dark to read. Horowitz, a psychology professor, former staff member at The New Yorker, and long-time dog-lover is able — based in equal parts on her scientific research and her own personal experiences as a dog owner — to correct the many misconceptions about dogs without snuffing out the special light we see inside them.
As for those face licks, they have an evolutionary basis — it originally was a way for pups to encourage their moms and dads to regurgitate what they had eaten while hunting, thus sharing their prechewed bounty.
That doesn’t mean your dog is trying to make you puke everytime it licks your face, only that what’s now a ritualized greeting began that way.
The book gets to the root of other canine behaviors, as well, including:
· How dogs tell — and actually smell — time.
· Why it’s been futile leaving your television on for your dog all these years (and why this may be different now).
· How your dog really feels about that raincoat you make him wear.
· Why some dogs joyfully retrieve tossed balls and sticks while others just stare at you like you’re a fool for throwing them.
While not a training manual, it’s a book every dog trainer should read, and perhaps every dog owner who wants to truly understand not just what their pet means to them, but what their pet means.
The book goes into how dogs see, smell and hear the world, what their barks mean, what their tail wags mean. And it avoids the common oversimplifications associated with seeing dogs solely in terms of human behavior, or seeing them solely as modern-day wolves.
Horowitz, and the book, show some appreciation and understanding of the evolutions that have taken place, and continue to — the evolution of dogs, the evolution of humans, and the evolution of the bond between the two.
(Learn more about the latest dog books at ohmidog’s book page, Good Dog Reads.)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 8th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: alexandra horowitz, behavior, bond, book, books, books on dogs, cognitive, dog, dog books, dogs, evolution, good dog reads, human, inside of a dog, kiss, know, lick, misconceptions, psychology, regurgitate, relationship, scientist, see, smell, tail, understanding, wag
We’re happy to announce a new feature on ohmidog! — an entire section devoted to dog books.
“Good Dog Reads” — you can find a tab for it on our rightside rail — is a collection of dog book news and reviews from our archives, one that will be updated as new releases come our way.
We’ve also made it easy, should you be inclined to buy one of those we’ve featured, to click on the title or cover, which will take you to our Amazon Affiliate store for easy ordering. To go straight to the store, basically a compilation of some our favorite dogs books, old and new, you can click on “Books on Dogs” link – the photo of the bespectacled dog — on our rightside rail.
If you, like me, plan to curl up with a good dog and a good dog book (or five, or ten) this winter, we’ve got some suggestions for you. Please feel free to send us your’s. And remember the words of Groucho Marx — from whose famous quote the title of the book we’re featuring today was drawn:
”Outside of a book, a dog is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark too read.”
Posted by jwoestendiek November 8th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: affiliate, amazon, authors, books, books about dogs, books on dogs, dog, dog books, dogs, feature, fiction, good dog reads, inside of a dog, literature, new, news, non-fiction, ohmidog!, publishers, publishing, reading, recommendations, recommended, reviews, writers