Published By: Andre Deutsch Ltd 2007 (Hardback)
Length: 127 pages
Summary: Every dog has its day. In this book that is certainly true, collecting together traditional stories like Greyfriar’s Bobby alongside some of the more quirky news stories about the world’s dogs throughout history. It’s not picky between pedigree and mutt, if it barks, wags it’s tail and pants when it’s been running then it’s in this book. The ultimate mini-history of Man’s Best Friend.
What I Liked: There was so much to love about this book if you are even a little bit of a dog-person. The 101 mini ‘episodes’ (each a page long) are all written in a light-hearted, often laugh-out-loud hilarious tone, clearly full of affection for canines of all kinds.
I loved the variety of stories and facts brought up in the book side-by-side. Little nuggets of how dogs got to be dogs from wolves, how the Kennel Club came into being, who invented commercial dog-food and old favourites like Greyfriar’s Bobby standing guard over his master’s grave. Everything and anything is in this book and every turn of the page brought a smile to my face or surprised me with something I didn’t know – how much dogs were used in the World Wars for example.
Every single page is illustrated with one of Tony Husband’s fantastic cartoons, which on their own were enough to make me chuckle like a fool in my local park and get stared at by passers-by.
What I Didn’t Like: My main complaint was the size of the actual book. Not the length, the size. It was an A5 (not A2, as I put to start with…) sized hardback, I understand that it was done so that the mini-episodes didn’t look lost on their individual pages but with it being a hardback I found it quite physically hard to hold the book open comfortably to read.
The only other thing is that I feel it’s more of a dip in and out sort of book than a romp all the way through one which is what I did. As entertaining as the stories were, once you’d read five or six you were probably done for the day. I read the whole thing in two sittings and by the end everything was just mushing into one in my head.
Rating: For any dog lover I’d say this was a must-read and if you’re looking for a birthday or Christmas present for a dog-mad friend or family lover then look no further than this witty little gem. Overall I’d rate The Reduced History Of Dogs a very respectable 4/5
The Reduced History Of Dogs is the first book on my September Spectacular Reading Challenge. One down, four to go!!