Science Comics: Dogs

A few weeks ago, I was reading Julie Hecht's twitter feed. (Pst: If you're not following Julie, stop reading this and find her! She had me at: "finds bliss in your dog's urine.")

She mentioned on Twitter that she had a little something to do with this new comic book that came out late last year.  Turns out, she and Mia Cobb were consulted on the science of all things dog for this particular piece, illustrated by artist Andy Hirsch (Garfield comics, Adventure Time and Peanuts).

I knew if Julie was involved it was going to be great. But then I realized First Second, the publisher of my daughter's favorite books (Zita the Spacegirl, The Little Robot and Julia's House for Lost Creatures), published this, too.


Here's the thing. I didn't get this book for my 5-year-old. I got this book for me. Once opened it and saw images like this, I realized this wasn't for little kids anyway. She might like the art style, but this DNA stuff, genetics, Mendel's peas, natural selection, and let's face it - with dogs there was quite the element of unnatural selection (which is addressed BEAUTIFULLY, I would like to add!)  would go way over her head.

Seriously, Mrs. Biology Teacher in 9th grade. This would have made my whole life 
MacMillan Publishing https://us.macmillan.com/sciencecomicsdogs/andyhirsch/9781626727687/

"This is not a book for small children," I thought. Too much science. It'll be hard. It won't be fun. Sure, the pictures are great and she loves comic books but this? No way.

So, naturally,  35 seconds after opening the book she picked it up
and had me read it to her every night for a solid week instead of Dr. Seuss, Ivy & Bean, or Elephant and Piggy. Her reading log for school proves it.

Even Captain got in on the reading action. (This is not posed. Acey put the book down by his bed because Captain needed to learn about where he came from.)

"So where is the 'Resting Hound Face' gene?"

Did she retain ANYTHING? I wasn't sure. She talked about how huskies eat snow when they are hot and don't stop running first, which she wanted to immediately try in real life. (Please don't eat the urban snow, Kiddo. It's five different shades of brown and has cigarette butts in it.) 

Fast forward 2 weeks from finishing the book. I took her to the Boston Museum of Science which is her favorite place to explore. She was extra good so I took her to the butterfly exhibit (her favorite place within her favorite place...aside from the gift shop.)  

This guy lands on the door. I took a picture because I thought, "Irony." 

File under #CamoFail. 
While I was lining up the shot of a giant, iridescent blue butterfly, literally larger than my hand landing next to a sign explaining how butterflies "blend in" for survival, Aislyn turns to me and instead of declaring, "Mommy? Look - a beautiful blue butterfly! Look how big he is..." and all the normal kid stuff I would have expected, she loudly informed the whole room:

Mom? His camouflage is broken. He'd just get eaten by a bird. Too bad. He's pretty, too.
So: Yes. She learned, processed and figured out in real life how natural selection works. 


I'm not sure if the three women next to me, who were up until that moment enjoying the sereneness of the tropical butterfly gardens, appreciated this in the same way I did. They just stopped and stared at me like I had three heads. 

Sorry Mrs. Jones. If she says anything about how animals eat each other, how some animals just can't live to pass on their genes, or anything to that effect....my bad. Don't stop her, though. Please. I had a science teacher call me out in an embarassing way in the 8th grade, and I don't want that to happen to her. She's right. This is what happens. She should understand it, own it, and appreciate it. Maybe she'll be the next big dog scientist, something that exists today (something I WISH I knew about when I was a little girl) and she'll go on to do awesome things. 

If you have curious kids, the Science Comics books are funny, informative and beautifully illustrated for kids and adults alike. Get kids into science and comics in one easy step! Or, pick one up for yourself. You will learn something, too. You might even have something click from your 9th grade biology class that has been waiting to make sense for the last 25 years.

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