If I have one complaint about Science Comics: Dogs: From Predator to Protector by Andy Hirsch is that there was more about the science of the animal and less of the why behind the actions. Yet, like the books on cats, bats and plagues (and more) if you are a fan of the subject, or like learning, you should read this book.
If you are a dog fan particularly, this is a fun and fairly easy way to learn about them. There is a small story behind the facts (a dog named Rudy is telling you what is going on, plus his backstory) but it is more straight on information than a fiction story. Rudy takes a journey through time (while chasing an elusive yellow tennis ball) about how the “Wolf of Yesterday Became the Dog of Today.” (Well, it’s not exactly that straight or straightforward of a line). We have myths debunked (there is no such thing as “dog years”) and facts with dad-humor (Rudy’s dad shows him his “jeans” when asked about his “genes”) mixed in makes this a journey for all ages, but probably best for 10 to 12. And a fun plus to all of this is that Hirsch (or Rudy depending on how you look at it) compares a dog to a human giving the reader a somewhat familiar reference point and showing how similar (and different) the two creatures are. The explanation of smell/scent in a dog was extremely humorous (or at least for this adolescent-minded-adult).
As I said, there is a lot of science. Rudy talks abut DNA and genetics; traits and how they are passed down. But there is not a lot of the “psychology” of the animal itself. There is a glossary to help organize the terminology. There is also a section talking about further reading. At the very end (after “the credits” so to speak) there is a small PSA with Rudy talking about adoption of shelter pets and if you do purchase from a breeder a note on finding a reputable one.
The “not a complaint but can be an issue” issue I have is with the art. As this is a graphic novel, the art is a plus as it helps show the subject in a realistic but fun way. You see the profile of an eye but it’s not OMG THAT’S AN EYE! gross factor. The illustrations are fairly colorful, not overly complicated and the pieces of information Rudy speaks about are right there to see. However, sometimes a panel can get a little crowded. Or instead of one or two panels in a “boxed” format, the whole page can be the subject. Sometimes it will “centerfold” onto the next page. It can be a bit much all at once, so it is recommended to take your time and just slowly read. There are few, if any, natural “chapter breaks”, therefore you just need to find where you are comfortable stopping.