A compelling look at the origins of and the ongoing unique relationship between humans and dogs.
In what’s at once a clear presentation of the science that explains the special connection between two species and a history of that science, Frydenborg puts forth information that should appeal to readers of all persuasions. She looks at both the evolution of wolves and humankind’s earliest ancestors for the clues that helped scientists understand how the highly social wolves came to be domesticated by humans, who began as solitary predators. By explaining various branches of science, including paleontology and genetics, and techniques such as radiocarbon dating and MRI scans, the author guides readers to an understanding of this unfolding story. She even includes the role of psychology for both. There are interesting sidelights, such as superstitions about wolves and Darwin’s love of dogs, which fueled his interests and the development of the British and American kennel clubs. The tale never flags and is enriched by photographs and sidebar information that very rarely disrupts the telling. One such insert is a highly useful description of the scientific method and what the author calls “the value of what-if.” Backmatter includes a glossary, chapter notes, selected bibliography, internet resources, and index (not seen).
This lively blend of science and history is an outstanding example of narrative nonfiction. (Nonfiction 12 & up)