Faced with these lovely illustrations and the shameless text, we are reminded of the saying, probably Lincoln's, that for people who like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing they like. Prolific author Godden has assembled and shaped historical and legendary allusions to Pekingese dogs, reputed in China to be the offspring of a lion and a butterfly. Of necessity this is also a lesser history of their devoted fanciers, including Queen Victoria, the Chinese Dowager Empress, and Godden herself. The text, although relying on ancient scrolls and contemporary accounts and written with a strong aristocratic flavor, indulges in the kind of statement that only the afflicted will approve (""My own Cumquat was crushed to death when. . .""). The illustrations are more consistently attractive: an Imperial dog cage of cloisonnÃ¨ and white jade, an agate snuff bottle with an amber pekingese, and snapshots of the best of show (a few too fuzzy to merit inclusion). A well-combed curio.