Dog Days of August: Fun Books and Videos About Our Favorite House Pets
Dog days of summer getting to you?
You know what they say: Every dog has its day. But come the last sultry weeks of summertime, seems like the canine species gets more than a month! These four to six weeks from late July through all of August and into early September have been known as "The Dog Days" since antiquity. The early Greeks and Romans blamed summer's hottest stretch on the Dog Star, Sirius, the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major, that for more than a month would rise and shine with the sun-and, they thought, intensify the sun's heat. So bright that it was visible in the daytime sky, the ancients considered Sirius (from the ancient Greek for "scorching") to be a beacon of the changing seasons and a predictor the future-not to mention the cause of many a maladies.
Not that the ancients were barking up the wrong tree, but nowadays Sirius rises in the fall and winter. Yet, the term "dog days of summer" has stuck like a sweaty T-shirt against hot leather bucket seats. Only now it has more to do with that all-too-familiar 98-in-the-shade daze or how kids start hangdogging during the last weeks of summer vacation as back-to-school dread begins to gnaw at them like a teething puppy in a furniture shop.But letting those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer get the best of you is like the tail waggin the dog. In our dogged pursuit of excellence in children's entertainment and educational products, we've dug up a few titles that are a breed apart in engaging young minds-even during these doldrum days of August. So, it's not too late to let summer go to the dogs. Just make sure it's the top dogs like these below.
-Ann and Don Oldenburg
Parents Choice reviewers and the authors of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lover's Companion" (Foghorn Press), a guidebook of places to go and things to do with your pooch-from the doggy perspective!
Blue's Clues: Rhythm and Blue
Ages 2 - 5 yrs.
Paramount Home Entertainment, $9.95 (VHS)
Blue continues to charm as she teaches. Young children will be absorbed by solving Blue’s Clues, asking to see this show over and over again.
Clifford The Big Red Dog: Clifford Saves the
Day! and Clifford's Fluffiest Friend
Ages 3 - 12 yrs.
Scholastic Inc., $19.98
This video comes packed with eight fun, new Clifford episodes including Fluffed-Up Cleo, Cleo's Fair Share, Two's Company, and Circus Stars.
A Dog of Flanders
Ages 6 - 12 yrs.
Warner Home Video, $19.98
A remake of the original movie made in 1914, the story is about a poor farm boy named Nello who comes across a near-dead dog in the woods. He nurses the dog back to health and overtime to two become inseparable. As their friendship grow, Nello begins pursuing his dream of becoming an artist.
My Dog Skip
Ages 8 - 14 yrs.
Warner Home Video, $22.96
Set in the 1940's during World War II, this is a heart-warming story about nine-year-old Willie Morris, played by Malcolm In the Middle's Frankie Muniz, who is left alone when his only friend goes off to war. To ease the void, his parents get him a dog named Skip. Willie and Skip forge a strong and lasting bond, the kind the words "a boy and his dog" have always meant in the deepest sense.
Reprinted with the permission of the Parents' Choice Foundation. © Copyright 2012 Parents' Choice Foundation. All rights reserved.
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