Welcome to the Dogs Monthly Book Club. Each month we review our pick of the latest releases, with an opportunity to win for lucky readers! If you would like to enter the prize draw, please email email@example.com with the name of the book you would like to receive in the subject line. Please remember to include your name and full address. Entries close 7 March 2019.
Bonnie the Lucky Collie
Illustrated by Anja Kolenko
Reviewed by Megan Harding
This is an educational children’s story following the life of Bonnie, a lucky Border Collie. Of course, Bonnie wasn’t lucky to begin with.
She was snatched away from her mother at only five weeks, kept in a shed for three weeks with no socialisation, sold to a family who misunderstood her needs, and then wound up in rescue, where she finally found her ‘special family’.
Bonnie and her family have a lot to work through but, as her new family is more understanding and works with her, she gets the chance of a happy life.
The story highlights the importance of understanding a dog’s needs and how the invaluable input of a good trainer and behaviourist can help, with a strong focus on positive reinforcement.
At the back, you’ll find useful tips and resources on dog behaviour and body language, and more importantly, photos of the real Bonnie. This is her story, but it also happens to so many other dogs who just need a patient and considerate family like hers. A percentage of the profits go to New Hope Animal Rescue.
The book is available from www.happydogsandcats.co.uk/shop
Dog Show 1961-1978
Reviewed by Megan Harding
Dog shows have changed a lot over the years, and it’s not just the dogs. This nostalgic photobook looks back at the 60s and 70s, capturing the quirky owners and their canine companions at one of the most quintessentially British events.
This is the third book in the series Vintage Britain and looks at the work of Shirley Baker (1932-2014), a British documentary and street photographer.
Starting at the Manchester Dog Show, there are Great Danes, French Bulldogs, Bloodhounds and Labradors, with hilarious snaps of dozing dogs and their owners awaiting their turn, a questionable image of a ‘gin drinking’ Beagle (we hope it was really water) and owners tending to their dogs. Keep a look out for the St Bernard wearing a bib!
It’s not just the hairstyles of the dogs we were transfixed by, but the human hairdos, fashion and the eyewear of the era.
Painting Dog Portraits in Acrylics
Reviewed by Rebecca Latham
Painting Dog Portraits in Acrylics is a beautiful book written by a professional artist.
The book is broken down carefully into bite-sized, step-by-step instructions so that even absolute beginners can understand and follow the most seemingly complicated stages of painting.
Drawing from his own experiences, Dave White explains how to apply certain techniques to obtain different textures, how to choose the background for your artwork and why lighting and portrait positioning are critical. He gives step-by-step instructions on every part of the dog’s face: eyes, ears, nose, tongue, fur type (with both long and short coats catered for), and explains how to create depth within a portrait and a certain ‘mood’.
There is even a short section at the end of the book on setting up a dog portrait business. Not a single aspect has been neglected, whether you are a hobby artist or a budding professional.
There are delightful images throughout of the author’s own art work and commissions, giving the book a personal feel. He also gives lovely anecdotes of his subjects and explains why he has painted each animal a certain way to portray their true character. His infectious enthusiasm for his work and his love of dogs shines through on every page.
This is a truly inspiring and engaging book for complete beginners, and even more experienced artists will pick up invaluable hints and tips. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone thinking of venturing into the world of painting and I’m even going to have a go myself!
The Adventures of Catvinkle
Illustrated by Laura Stitzel
Reviewed by Alys Horton-Bussey
Elliot Perlman is a bestselling novelist of adult fiction, who began to invent stories for his niece. Now a parent with two children of his own, he has started to write down the stories for a wider audience. The first is about Catvinkle, a sleek, satisfied housecat, who enjoys snoozing, and a hungry, abandoned Dalmatian called Ula.
Eight-year-old Alys reviewed it for us and said, “I love this book, as it describes such a lovely friendship between Catvinkle and Ula. The illustrations really bring the characters to life. It is a charming tale of friendship and some rivalry. I would recommend it to animal lovers and comedy fans.”