Cats, dogs and wildlife mixed with humor, art and photographic beauty—these books offer a bit of everything.
What I Lick Before Your Face by Jamie Coleman
The title alone is laugh-worthy: What I Lick Before Your Face and Other Haikus by Dogs. Given the brevity of the form, you’ll find yourself scarfing down nuggets like this one, called “Standing,” as if they were dog treats: “I sometimes feel bad / That I don’t get as happy / Whenever you sit.” The snark is always spot-on, such as in “Walkies”: “I have come to loathe / That singsong voice you employ / It demeans us both.” Jamie Coleman’s entertaining little volume just begs for a feline follow-up.
Why My Cat Is More Impressive Than Your Baby by Matthew Inman
There’s plenty more dog humor in Why My Cat Is More Impressive Than Your Baby. The magic of Matthew Inman’s irreverent cartoons is that he imagines what cats, dogs and babies are thinking while doting humans tend to them. Inman is a master of emotion in both his art and prose, calling a dog an “affable ball of fur” and a “lovable idiot” while a baby is an “obese, naked leprechaun” and a “relentless ScreamBall.” Ultimately, Inman is full of heart, such as when he writes, “Understand that befriending a cat is like befriending a hurricane. It’ll be violent. It’ll be devastating. But in the eye of the storm, in that calm, serene center, it’ll be beautiful.” Of course, he adds the inevitable kicker: “And then it’ll just be violent again.”
A History of Art in 21 Cats by Nia Gould
British artist Nia Gould combines her passion for art and cats in her uniquely whimsical A History of Art in 21 Cats. Each section includes one of Gould’s marvelous cat-imagined masterpieces, such as a feline Frida Kahlo-style portrait, complete with a floral headpiece and costume, paired with a succinct but informative discussion of magic realism. Few could pull off such an equally artistic and edifying feat, which includes an utterly purr-fect Pablo Picasso cat and a stately, whiskered Mona Lisa. Be forewarned: Your museum trips may never be quite the same.
Unforgettable Portraits by Rosamund Kidman Cox
Animal lovers are bound to lose themselves in the 70 memorable color photographs from the London Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year competitions, collected in Rosamund Kidman Cox’s Unforgettable Portraits. Cyril Ruoso’s young snub-nosed monkey looks like a stuffed toy perched in a tree in China’s Qinling Mountains. An angry queen ant photographed in the Cambodian forest by Piotr Naskrecki wears an expression eerily similar to that of an NFL linebacker waiting for the snap. Wildlife fans will relish the surprises waiting on each and every page.