Photo Illustrator: John Ueland
Publisher: Sports Illustrated Kids
ISBN: 978-1-61893-051-4

Babe Ruff marked his territory among baseball’s legends with one mighty swing in Game 3 of the 1932 World Series. Stepping out of the batter’s box, the New Yorkie Yankee pointed to the centerfield bleachers. Some say he was predicting a home run. Others think he merely spotted a squirrel in the stands,” starts the stories in Sports Illustrated Kids book, Top Dogs: Babe Ruff and the Legendary Canines of Sports.

This sixty-four page hardbound book is targeted toward ages eight up who either love sports or dogs or love both. Geared toward third grade children and above, it is a wagging tongue-in-cheek compilation of champions in sports adapted to dogs. Photographer / illustrator John Ueland uses sports heroes in action and alters them with a plethora of dog heads on human bodies.

Separated into five sections, there is best in show, underdogs, every dog has its day, most valuable puppies, and hot dogs. With no drooling, each page has bright colorful modified photographs of half-beast-half-humans in action. The end of the book has small photographs of each pet and person side-by-side above their names and designated sport.

Not only do readers see photographs of Beagles, Bichons, Danes, Dobermans, Labradors, Pomeranians, Poodles, Retrievers, Shepherds, and Terriers, they see dogs supposedly in action in sports such as auto-racing, baseball, basketball, boxing, football, golf, hockey, soccer, swimming, and tennis.

Doggone silly as it may seem, there is the likes of canines Charles Bark-ley, Bury Sanders, Em-mutt Smith, Rover Federer, Wayne Fetchzky, Arnold Palmeranian, Honus Wagger, Pug Rodriguez, Lionel Muttsi,Tim Te-Bow-Wow, Bite Tyson, Will-leash Mays, Michael Yelps, David Bark-ham, and Snarl Edwards to name a few.

With no female dogs included, readers can learn unconsciously about sport heroes and their accomplishments with some leeway in the written descriptions dedicated to sports history with a dogged viewpoint. Having many football and baseball examples, one would be the excellent breed of the three Mannings (Heel-I, Panting, and Arfie) who were born to be quarterbacks.

Saturated with puns, play-on-words, and sophomoric overtones, children and sport-fan adults with a bent toward seeing a dog’s head on their favorite athlete will fetch this book as a perfect gift to fill their obsessed sports enthusiasm. One wonders if next there will be trading cards on these fury fidos.

This book was furnished by Goodman Media in lieu of an unbiased review.

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