Books by Ann Squire

Released: Nov. 1, 1996

A compendium of backyard trivia that leaves out more questions than it answers. In chapters dealing with birds, bees, butterflies, bugs, moles, mice, cold-blooded creatures, and ``other weird wildlife,'' she satisfies the curiosity readers may have about birds' nests, why ducks preen their feathers, owl pellets, fireflies, and much more. But some of the creatures highlighted—fleas, ducks, cranes, owls, gulls, penguins, and rattlesnakes—are not exactly backyard wildlife. The information can be capricious or inadequate, e.g., much is made of birds' hearing, but Squire never explains just how they hear. In another example, she comments on pigeon nests, but never answers the question most children have about that bird—where are the baby pigeons? Overall the book is mildly interesting but hampered by a scattershot approach to an inherently fascinating subject. (b&w illustrations) (Nonfiction. 10+) Read full book review >
Released: May 15, 1991

How dogs were domesticated, and how—through selective breeding since the Stone Age—various behavioral patterns and other characteristics of the ancestral wolf have been sorted out to create breeds for particular purposes. After contrasting wolves with their canine descendants, Squire (Curator of Education at New York's Central Park Zoo; her doctorate is in animal behavior) mostly explains the fascinating origins of the different types of breeds and the original uses of the behaviors they exhibit: e.g., sporting breeds enjoy a close relationship with a master; herders may nip but don't ordinarily bite; guard dogs are prepared to sit around, but hounds need to run; dachshunds, however, bred to accompany a hunter on foot, have legs too short to outrun their masters. Squire closes with some characteristics that are not in the dogs' best interests (a too-short nose is an inadequate cooling system), a sensible point of view on pit bulls (they're not all bred to be ferocious), and the comment that a mixed-breed pet is often a more versatile and interesting companion than the more focused result of ``pure'' lineage. An excellent survey, especially for anyone hoping to choose a breed compatible with a particular family. The book's organization leads to some repetition, but this may actually enhance its use as a reference. An appendix groups breeds by type and gives original uses; index. (Nonfiction. 9+) Read full book review >