For many decades, The New Yorker has produced some of the funniest and most original cartoons of all time. For people who love both cartoons and dogs, The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs offers the work of masters such as Steig, Barsotti, Booth, Shanahan and Cullum just to name a few. Their work can even bring a smile to the face of people who are not crazy about dogs. However, the book offers much more than that.

Overview

The book starts off with a foreword by acclaimed author and lecturer Malcolm Gladwell. The book is divided into four sections: Under Dogs, Top Dogs, Bad Dogs and Good Dogs. Each of these sections begins with a story written by James Thurber. There are a number of essays from observational commentators such as three from Susan Orlean and four from the previously mentioned Malcolm Gladwell. All of the material found in the book comes directly from the magazine. This includes typographical mark-up pages, cartoons, sketches and a wide assortment of memorable covers. The size and format of the book are similar to the magazine itself. It has a total of 400 pages and retails for $45.

Archive material

Regular readers of The New Yorker will be familiar with many pieces in the book that were published recently. However, the editors of this book also took the time to go deep into the archives of the magazine to present the reader with a few classics from many decades ago. For example, there is an article written by Angelica Gibbs in 1951. It is about a woman named Blance Saunders who helped to make training dogs for obedience popular in the United States. Many of the articles and stories revolve around the subject of lost dogs. Two others chronicle the experience of running with the hounds. “The Door on West Tenth Street” is a lovely story by Maeve Brennan that will warm the hearts of people of all ages.

Controversy

There is a piece by Malcolm Gladwell called “What the Dog Saw” that is included in the book. First published in 2006, it is about Cesar Millan. The article caused controversy when is was first published. This is because Gladwell does not question any of the methods and theories that are utilized by Millan. Instead, he asks movement specialists and dancers for their analysis on how man moves around dogs. Many people thought he should have been interviewing trainers, academics or behaviorists for the piece.

The human/dog relationship

The book does not include a large amount of pieces focusing on the relationship between humans and dogs. However, “Ava’s Apartment” by Jonathan Letham does cover this topic. In reviews of this book, many critics have praised this particular piece as being the best in this collection. As Gladwell mentions in the foreword, the book focuses mainly on New York dogs. Therefore, readers wanting material about a wider variety of dogs should look elsewhere.

Critical response

Reviews for The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs have been overwhelmingly positive. A quick scan of the comments sections of major book retailers shows just how pleased the public is with this offering. The Bark, a magazine about dogs, gave the book a favorable review. USA Today also chimed in with praises for the collection, particularly for the archive material. Based on the reviews, it would seem that this book is the perfect gift for any dog lover. It contains a perfect balance of humor, essays, poetry and cartoons to bring hours of entertainment to any person who has a love for man’s best friend.

References: ohmidog.com

Kenneth Tanner writes on pets, pet ownership, animal science, zoology and other assorted topics. In addition to the “The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs” pet owners may also want to check out Designer Dog Collars for their dogs as well.