What’s more fun than bread and circuses? Dogs and circuses—or so young readers will learn from this sweet book about the bond between man and canine and just letting a dog do what a dog’s gotta do.
After a serious fall ended his acrobatic career, long-time circus performer Luciano Anastasini devised a new act that combined his love of circuses and dogs. But these were no purebreds or pet-shop animals. Understanding that a dog act would give his own career a second chance, Luciano decided to give a new lease on life as well to dogs that no one else wanted. Taking in shelter animals, he observed them closely and then trained them to perform stunts that allowed the dogs’ own natural instincts and talents to come to the fore. In so doing, Anastasini created a show that reflected his love and respect for the dogs and their traits and inherent skills. The animals have repaid Luciano with affection, trust, obedience and remarkable showmanship. The excellent photographs show off these dogs at their frisky, shaggy, twinkly-eyed best and reveal born performers. Readers would be hard-pressed to find a cuter, more diverse group of pooches anywhere and are guaranteed to smile throughout.
Charming; four (or, in this case, 40) paws up, way up. (introduction by Kate DiCamillo, letter to readers from Luciano) (Informational picture book. 4-8)