Friends of The Reader write about their books of 2007.
By Suze Clarke
This is a book in the age old style of bumper books written in time for Christmas and the long summer holidays. Remember such titles as Big Book of This and That (substitute what you will: model aircraft, knitting for dolls etc). The present volume of The Dastardly Book for Dogs (by Rex and Sparky) is absolutely solid and big and brown and bumper, and as dastardly as it says on the tin. It is the ideal book for anyone remotely interested in dogs.
Bucking the current trend of Dog Whisperer psycho-babble, Rex and Sparky have chapters on ‘What’s Edible?’ (vomit and poo get five stars, bubblegum 4 and important papers 3), on ‘Interpreting Commands’, ‘Sounds They Can’t Hear’ and ‘Creative Pee Stains’. The book dips in and out of its topics with a somewhat random tendency but the authors have included much that will intrigue and they should know their market, being dogs themselves. Here I have to own up that I felt somewhat excluded by the fact that the writers are so very male. The chapter on ‘Bitches’ isn’t edifying and Rex and Sparky have no room for such sensitive subjects as ‘Dressing for Oestrus: Swing those Hips, Girl’ or ‘Phantom Pregnancies: The Truth’. But honestly, if you’re reading a book by two mutts, don’t expect modern sensitivity or bling.
Buy The Dastardly Book for Dogs for the insights into your dog’s motivation. There is one chapter every foolish owner should read: ‘How to Escape Humiliating Costumes’. Please, it may be Christmas but don’t put your pooch in flashing antlers.
Suze Clarke is a long-term friend of The Reader. She lives near Stourbridge.