Click here to read reviewer Lillian Brummet's take on The Dangerous Book for Dogs.
Mimicking the very successful The Dangerous Book for Boys, this canine treat takes a page from nostalgia for the good old days, BD - Before Domestication. Assuming dogs could speak, they might ask to be released from the trendy costumes and afternoons perched in designer bags while owners proudly show off their “treasures”.
Enough of being turned into color-coordinated accessories. Dogs have souls, too, and would like to return to the days when they could run around a backyard barking for no reason or howl at the moon or chase the neighbor’s cat without it becoming an international incident. They want to roll in the dirt and dig in the yard and smell “doggy” and all the other things dogs used to enjoy with impunity.
Granted, things have changed so much that the first steps will have to be small ones. To that end, “Rex and Sparky” have a few suggestions in chapters on rediscovering adventure: “Things You Can Chase”; “Begging - A Primer”; “Courageous Dogs in History”; “How to Escape Humiliating Costumes”; “How to Choose and Bury a Bone”; Dog Jobs”; and “Five Things Every Dog Should Have.”
The Dangerous Book for Dogs addresses a history of childhood companionship, fearless journeyers (like in the movies), and the courageous dogs of war - essentially what it really means to be a “dog”. But lest we take our canines too seriously, the book offers a few more entertaining chapters, harkening back to the halcyon days of freedom: “How to Make Your Owner Look Like an Idiot,” “Creative Pee Stains” and “How to Ruin a Perfect Dinner Party.”
Lively illustrations by Emily Flake keep the mood light - not that dogs want to get too heavy, anyway - a reminder for goal-oriented humans to take time to enjoy the basic joys of life: a salivating puppy happily greeting an owner at the end of a workday, a walk in the park with man’s best friend, all without the added burden of adorable outfits that belong on a doll, not a dog.
Real dogs don’t care how they look, they just want to have fun and grow old in the sun. There’s a lesson here for all of us.