Want to be your dog’s best friend? The new oversized picture book by writer/illustrator Elena Bulay, called How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend, tells you how. The book opens with end pages of great black-and-white dog cameos, then shifts into high speed dog education. Young reader get a crash course in how to choose a dog to bring into the family.

Ms. Bulay examines the many doggie looks and sizes, like weenie dogs, lion-like dogs, pudgy dogs and skinny dogs. Bearded dogs, hairless dogs spotted dogs and wrinkled dogs too. She teaches readers where to go to adopt a dog (breeders, rescue shelters); how to choose a dog by answering important questions, like whether you have allergies, how often you go on vacation, who will actually feed and walk your dog — and quite frankly, WHY you and your family want a dog in the first place. Then she explains how to prepare the home for the new family member (puppy pads, dog bed, food bowls, collar, toys, and… well, you name it).

Once the basics are out of the way, young readers learn how to communicate with their new dog or puppy. There is a delightfully illustrated page (P. 29) that helps children read a dog’s body language, including what it does when it’s scared or relaxed or playful or ready to attack. They learn about micro-chipping, vaccinations, medical certificates for traveling, and just about everything else a responsible dog lover needs to know to provide a happy home for their new pet.

How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend is a treasure trove for aspiring dog-lovers. In fact, it can double as a reference book for pet owners. It includes sections on how and what to feed your dog, training your dog, grooming your dog, and games you can play with your dog. There is also information on what to expect when visiting the vet, what to do if your dog is scared or behaves badly, and what to do when your beloved pet gets older.

Ms. Bulay’s prose is extremely sweet and age appropriate. She alternates between offering young children information on dogs and telling about her own adventures with her beloved dog Jo. As for illustrations, Ms. Bulay fills this lovely book with black-and-white and soft pastel-colored illustrations of vibrant, curious, rambunctious dogs just waiting to be adopted into new homes.

This book should do well as supplemental or independent reading, and should also do well in a veterinarian’s or on your child’s personal bookshelf. Enjoy!

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