Why Do Dogs Sniff Butts?: Curious Questions About Your Favorite Pets

Image of Why Do Dogs Sniff Butts?: Curious Questions About Your Favorite Pets
Release Date: 
March 17, 2020
Thames & Hudson
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“Bound to be an instant favorite.”

Any picture book with the word “butt” in the title is bound to be an instant favorite. But the eager reader won’t get the answer to butt-sniffing question right away. First the author, Nick Crumpton, a zoologist at the University College London, introduces dogs as a species, how they started out as wild animals and became our pets and best friends centuries ago. A double page spread of various dog breeds follows, gloriously illustrated by Lily Snowden-Fine. Her dogs are expressive, each packed full of character and charm, from the dog with the longest tongue (as St. Bernard) to the smallest dog (a Chihuahua). And then the page we’ve all been waiting for, a wonderfully kid-friendly explanation of how dogs greet each other, “Nice to smell you.”

By now the reader is hooked by the approachable text and the bright, vivid art. They will keep turning pages to discover “Why dogs dig” and “What does my dog do when I’m gone?” The text is thoroughly entertaining while still providing a lot of information about the most common animal to live among us. This is a book to savor and to read over and over again. Young readers who prefer non-fiction will be in dog-heaven, while those who prefer fiction will still find the pages full of fascinating little stories.

The book ends with “mythical mutts,” from Cerberus, the Greek guardian of the underworld to Anubis, the jackal-headed god of the dead in ancient Egypt. One wonders why dogs are so closely tied to the afterlife. Perhaps because of the giant dog in the sky, Canis Major? It’s a perfect way to finish a lively romp through the many ways dogs are part of our lives. Endmatter provides a useful dictionary of doggie terms, and the endpapers regale us with a final look at all the many kinds of dogs to choose from to get the perfect pet.