Pet Shop

Gifting Ideas for Cool Christmas Reads

By Chrysa Smith

Let’s face it. Your particular breed of fur ball holds a place in your heart. In your home. During holidays. New squeak toys and treats for little Poppy, some catnip for Bella. But what about those two-legged pet-lovers on your list? Check out these fun, kitschy and beautiful literary gifts that spread a bit of four-legged cheer, add a beautiful addition to your coffee table and tickle your funny bone. Available, where else? Amazon. Or check your local bookstore.

The Dogs of Central Park
Regal and mutley canines alike frolic, roam and yes, sniff the glorious scents in their 800+ acre playground. In the book, photographer Fran Reisner, who was overcome by canine crowds on a trip to NY, captures all of the four-legged struts and romps of the NY city dog scene in one of the city’s best places to be seen. Stories and beautiful images of a sleek rescue dog, a mixed breed who was once serenaded by Roberta Flack and an entire pack of others who call Central Park home. (Universe)

The Life & Love of Cats
This beautifully photographed coffee table book takes readers on a historic journey; from cats of ancient times through those that share your bed each night. It’s both informative and gorgeous as well as a historic romp through the ages. From Louis Blackwell, an internationally recognized writer, photographer and all-around creative guy. (Harry N. Abrams)

Paper Cats
Allergies? No pets allowed? No problem. Whether it is for the youngsters on your gift list or the young at heart, think paper dolls for felines. A variety of breeds show up on the pages of this Papermade book with scored folds and directions to construct paper cats. Toys and a cat tree are included-in case you feel the need to scratch. (PowerHouse Books)

Birds of a Feather
A true story of a match made in heaven-or at least in Serenity Park, California; a beautiful sanctuary for both abandoned parrots and their new loves: wounded warriors. The story of Clinical Psychologist and Author Dr. Lorin Linders pioneering the use of animals in healing at the VA Hospital in LA, after her experiences with an unexpected pet parrot and her street experiences with the homeless. The effect the parrots had on PTSD patients was also unexpected; expressing and sharing feelings dormant for far too long. (St. Martin’s Press)

A Dog Runs Through It
Sometimes nostalgic, other times poignant, this native New Yorker and National Book Award finalist follows the dogs that have not only shared her life, but have turned up in her other works. At times very real, other times existing in the mystery of the stars, author Linda Pasten’s book of canine poetry may bring back a few memories or make you shed a tear. Either way, it will touch your heart. (WW Norton & Co.)

Cats on Catnip
Break out the laughter, as photographer Andrew Marttila captures the funny, wistful, unusual, and quirky side of cats after a dose of catnip. The substance, long known to have a psych effect on cats is reminiscent of your first beer (no selfies please!). Using something called macro photography, extraordinary detail is captured, showing emotions and body movements that cat lovers so adore. A self-confessed cat lover himself, Marttila’s got the goods on the laid-back, scaredy, and ‘give-me-more’ felines. (Running Press)

Luis and Tabitha
Love apparently knows no species or boundaries, as this feline love story comes to life on the pages of Luis and Tabitha. Made and appropriate for family reading, what happens when an outdoor alley cat meets the indoor love of his life? Ah, class distinction? Fated love? Find out in this adorably-illustrated cat tale by Stephanie Campisi. (Familius)

Pit Bull Flower Power Faces everyone could love adorn this beautifully photographed book of decorated dogs. In it, Sophie Gamand’s visuals of Pit Bulls lovingly adorned with their finest hand-made bonnets shatter the bad rap of a sweet breed of dog. Often left behind at shelters, Gamand attempts to help clear them by sharing each dog’s story from more than 30 shelters she has visited over the past several years. The stories will tug at your heart; the images will give you a chuckle. (Lantern Books)

Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?
NYT Bestselling Author Frans de Waal’s book explores the interesting relationships people have with animals and how we are seen through their eyes. Parrots, dolphins, elephants, chimps, and other species have innate abilities that aren’t necessarily visible to us humans. Perhaps we aren’t quite as special as we might like to believe? Find out what some of nature’s most beautiful creatures do, what skills they have and what they might believe. (WW Norton & Co)

Once upon a Poodle
A shameless plug for this writer’s work. Picture book from Author Chrysa Smith with a sibling ‘brotherly’ theme sure to get a few giggles out of your youngster, as a mini-poo sets out to find a brother. Feathers fly, nuts are cracked and gardens harvested in this fun tale that teaches kids to never give up-and perhaps, welcome a new sibling to a growing family. (The Well Bred Book)

Life on the Leash
Dog Trainer and Author Victoria Schade mixes the life of a dedicated dog-walker with a bit of a messy love life in this romantic novel. Drama ensues when an organized woman falls for Mr. Right-or so she thinks. Yet her male friend, who offers her advice might be a little bit more than a friend? The opportunity of her lifetime comes her way and well-(Gallery Books, a Simon & Schuster Company)

Homer and the Holiday Miracle
NYT’s best-selling author Gwen Cooper captures the tales of her ever-loving and surprising blind cat Homer, who defies the odds in this true holiday story about hope, inspiration, and the true meaning of Christmas. Not even illness and burglary can keep this feline from experiencing one last holiday miracle. (BenBella)

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