Atlas of Dogs – written by Ester Dobiášová, Jana Sedláčková, and Štěpánka Sekaninová, illustrated by Marcel Králik, Albatros Media, 9788000059358, 2021
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
What did you like about the book? Atlas of Dogs is a cute, accessible, and heavily illustrated nonfiction book that briefly explores dozens of dog breeds alongside interesting stories of canines from history and breakout boxes of facts.
The book is organized into chapters based on basic groups of dogs, such as terriers, retrievers, or dachshunds; each group then presents a selection of dogs from the well-known to the obscure with about a paragraph dedicated to every breed. The authors have done an excellent job of presenting a lot of information in a small space as each of these paragraphs is written from the perspective of a dog, giving a unique and sometimes funny voice to these figures. Chapters are broken up by stories from “Dogs’ Daily Post,” a newspaper that offers exclusive interviews with famous dogs and insight into the lives of these pups; this fun gimmick will delight younger readers while offering fantastic facts. Králik’s accompanying illustrations are gentle and cartoonish, clearly depicting the dog’s main physical features while giving the subject human-like expressions (most often a smile).
This a fantastic browsable nonfiction title that can be opened to nearly any page at any time for a quick read. Young dog fans will enjoy flipping through the chapters and reading the humorous content.
Anything you didn’t like about it? The first thing that one might notice upon opening this book is that it is not an atlas by any definition as there are no maps; this may cause some initial confusion or disappointment for some patrons. The title was, most likely, a mistranslation as the book was originally published in the Czech Republic. However, I asked other staff members for input regarding this error but we all ended up agreeing that kids would still be delighted to see the illustrations and information, regardless of their initial expectation.
In regards to the actual content, there is one piece that left something to be desired. The illustrations depict only one person of color throughout the entire book, despite having over 20 opportunities to do so (images that referred to a specific person or historical event were not counted in this number). While not a deal-breaker, representation is often a factor when librarians select titles.
To whom would you recommend this book? This is a great title for dog lovers between the ages of 7 to 11.
Who should buy this book? Recommended as a first purchase where you can’t keep dog books on the shelf.
Where would you shelve it ? J Nonfiction
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Melissa McCleary, Pembroke Public Library, Pembroke, MA
Date of review: May 6, 2021