First Friend: How Dogs Evolved from Wolves to Become Our Best Friends by Kersten Hamilton, illustrated by Jaime Kim

Published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

First Friend: How Dogs Evolved from Wolves to Become Our Best Friends:  Hamilton, Kersten, Kim, Jaime: 9780374313432: Books
First Friend | Kersten Hamilton | Macmillan

Summary:  The narrative begins long ago when nomads traveled through Europe and Asia, fighting wolves for their prey.  A girl meets a young wolf and they play together until the pup gets older.  This cycle is repeated throughout history, with the bond between child and pup growing, and the certainty that their friendship can’t last becoming less.  In the last iteration, the human group packs up and leaves the area, the boy calls to his wolf friend, “and Dog left the wolf pack to follow his boy away.”  The last spread shows a contemporary girl and puppy meeting for the first time.  Includes two pages of back matter giving additional information on how dogs became domesticated and a bibliography.  40 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  Dog lovers will be intrigued by the progression of domestication over thousands of years.  The illustrations seem simple with cartoon-inspired characters, but also include gorgeous backgrounds portraying the natural world.  The back matter adds to the research value and will make the book more interesting to older kids.

Cons:  The process of domestication is very simplified.

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