cover image Dogs and Cats

Dogs and Cats

Steve Jenkins, . . Houghton, $16 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-618-50767-2

Man's best friend and its feline counterpart receive some stunning paper collage treatment in Jenkins's (Actual Size ) latest work. The two-in-one format offers wide-ranging facts presented in an easy-to-digest, conversational style (with a flip of the book, dog lovers and cat lovers can zero in on one or the other). Section headings in red typeface introduce substantial text blocks and lengthy captions, which touch on topics from ancestry and hunting skills to anatomy and body language. Both halves also include a spread of "amazing facts," and another entitled, "I wonder...." The latter offers explanations for the more unusual characteristics of each animal, such as why cats chase their tails ("They still enjoy acting out this hunting behavior") and why dogs might roll in manure ("A wild dog will roll in the dung of grazing animals to hide its own scent, allowing it to sneak up on its prey"). Jenkins's trademark cut- and torn-paper vignettes, with their subtle shadings and fuzzy or crinkled textures, are so carefully crafted that images of a few of the creatures (e.g., the English mastiff, the Siamese cat) could almost pass for photographs. The book's middle spread acts as a transition, depicting both a cat and dog stretched out on the same green rug, beneath the heading, "Friends or enemies?" (and alongside instructions to "turn the book over and start from the other side"). No matter what side readers are on, they'll come away with a better understanding of both species. Ages 6-10. (May)