An exploration of the many jobs dogs, with their superior sense of smell, do for humans.
Covering a great deal of territory, the table of contents lists four chapters: “Dogs and Their Amazing Noses,” “Searching and Saving,” “Helping Planet Earth” and “Medical Alert Dogs.” Patent does a commendable job of delivering the information, but the 48 pages feel rather crowded. Not only does she discuss all the activities dogs and their noses do in the service of humans, but she also gives brief explanations of an invasive species, diabetes, and conservation efforts for gorillas and orcas, among other subtopics. While these latter are important and notable subjects, they are not adjunct enough to the book’s primary topic to keep readers focused and ultimately have the result of cluttering and confusing rather than enhancing the main exploration. The overall effect for readers is a bit like reading a list of facts in a brochure. The book’s design—a lively primary-color one—sets black type on either yellow, blue or red backgrounds alongside plenty of full-color photos with captions. The red background is the least successful, since it is difficult to see the black type against it.
Too many topics result in an ambitious but ultimately rather dry work. (index, resources) (Nonfiction. 8-12)