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If Only You Knew How Much I Smell You: True Portraits of Dogs Hardcover – May 15, 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Bulfinch; Gift edition (May 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0821224972
  • ISBN-13: 978-0821224977
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 8.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #509,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Who hasn't put words into their mutt's mouth? From "yes, the chicken-flavored treats are my favorite," to "no, I'm not quite ready for my bath," all dog devotees are guilty as charged--although not all do it in such a hilarious and endearing manner as writer Roy Blount Jr. and photographer Valerie Shaff in If Only You Knew How Much I Smell You: True Portraits of Dogs. Blount, humorist and author of Be Sweet, brings us closer to "understanding the 'inner dog'" through his use of Doggerel, a uniquely Blount brand of verse with the "canine measure somewhere between ordered and free." The effect of this puppy poetry--when paired with Shaff's truly remarkable duotone photographs of mixed and pure breeds--is comic genius. A Boxer coyly stares into the camera wondering, "What does that mean, 'expensive shoe'? / I ate it because it smelled like you," while a chubby-tummied bulldog declares "Good stick. / Got a good stick. / A real / good / Stick. / Getting all the good / Out of this good / Stick / That's in / This / good / Stick." You'll never be able to resist this entertaining and affectionate look at our canine friends as "they ponder the confusions, certainties, pangs, and pleasures of a dog's life."

Review

Man's best friend, but what exactly goes through a dog's mind when he looks at us? Photographer Valerie Shaff and American humourist Roy Blount Jr. have joined forces to produce a book every dog lover should have. From the pertinent to the poignant, the farcical to the fancy, terriers, hounds and everything in-between are impeccably captured on film and in word. In play or portrait, Shaff's snapshots capture the marvellous range of looks that can cross our canine friend's faces while Blount succinctly encapsulates the dogs mind from simple two liners to longer verse. A must for all dog fans, with humorous and in some cases hilarious slants on their emotions as seen by humans. And anyway, who can resist that longing look emanating from the book jacket? - Lucy Watson

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Customer Reviews

If you love dogs, you will love this book.
Rachael T
As in the poem, "Good Stick," you know exactly how the dog feels about his stick because - the dog itself wrote the poem.
Ramona Honan
This book makes a great gift for a dog lover, or a dog's human companion; plus is a nice "coffee table" book.
Elizabeth H. Kern

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 52 people found the following review helpful By A. Kelly on November 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a great gift-book idea, if you can manage to actually give it away. The photos are wonderfully done, featuring both "action" shots and natural, endearing portraits. These are real dogs, not models--no dangerously thin Italian greyhounds lounging on marble terraces here--and Shaff catches all their moods, movements, and expressions.
The accompanying poetry by Roy Blount is a delight as well. As others reviewers have pointed out, this isn't puppy-wuppy talk, but witty, funny, and perfectly suited to the photographs. I thought several times as I was reading that Blount must be a life-long dog owner. He knows those looks and what's going to happen next.
Altogether, a truly light-hearted book well worth having.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Scott on March 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Dogs are said to be Man's Best Friend -- and with this book, it's easy to see why! The many moods and faces of dogs (ranging from comical, to cuddly, to downright cute) are chronicled in gorgeous sepia-toned photographs by Valerie Shaff. While Wegman dresses up his Weimaraners to elicit "human comedy gone to the dogs", Shaff shows the true nature of the beast through poignant and heartwarming pictures that allow the personalities of the dogs to really shine through. Each photo is
accompanied by incisively witty text by Roy Blount, one of America's best-known humourists. Whether you're a dog owner or not, this book will bring a smile to your face (and if it doesn't...well, then, you probably just haven't met the right dog yet!)
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By goodoldmac on December 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Each page of this delightful book has a smile, if not an outright laugh...Pictures of various dogs, both mixed and pure-breeds in various typical "doggie acts" with the captions depicting the dog's "thoughts" on the matter... A small dog looks sadly toward the camera with " I don't understand how you can be so smitten, you have me, yet you pet that kitten."... The photos are excellent, both posed and "action" shots. No dog lover should be without this book
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Sandra D. Peters on December 14, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Never heard of "Doggeral"? Well, you will after you read this fascinating book. You will understand it, speak it and remember it. Canine lovers everywhere will be captivated by the beautiful photographs and witty verses. Here you will find dogs, dogs and more dogs of every description. As you turn the pages, the reader will be deeply touched with warmth, sadness, joy and wonder for each page tells a different story. This book is delightful to own, a pleasure to read, and makes an excellent coffee table book. One could not possibly look at a playfully wagging tail, a wet nose or huge sad eyes and not be overcome with emotion. After all, dogs are more than pets, they are our canine family to love, respect and care for - just like children.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 3, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book in a local bookstore and read it cover to cover without realizing it. I was so absorbed in the beauty of the photos as well as enjoying the word association of each expression. I lost two dogs to old age(they were both 16 years old) in just the last year and this book brought me great joy. The memories of my "babies" flooded back and this little book brought tears to my eyes. Anyone who has ever truly loved a dog will enjoy this book. I'm buying it and keeping it always.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 15, 1998
Format: Hardcover
The heart of a dog is captured in this book. The photographs, all excellent by themselves, are made perfect by the addition of the poems/captions which accompany each one. A range of dog emotions and thoughts are covered with expressions from the dogs serving as, at least what humans interpret to be, the true heart and soul of each dog. Sadness, euphoria, exasperation, and great humour are portrayed by a variety of breeds in a myriad of situations. You know what it means when your dog gives you "that look." Each "look" here will hit you the same way. I've shown the book to friends and each picture never fails to produce one of three reactions: (1) Awwwwww, (2) That's GREAT, (3) roaring laughter. I am ordering these as gifts for my dog-loving friends everywhere.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 8, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I don't have a dog. I've never had a dog. I don't want a dog. Dogs don't like me (could be the lingering cat smell about my ankles), and I'm not sure about them. After having 'read' this book, though, I feel I'm a little closer to understanding them, and closer to seeing them not as one-dimensional, tennis-ball chasing, butt-sniffing, panting, tongue-lolling creatures, but rather as richly complex creatures. From "the move came at a bad time for me" where the lab mourns his lost treasure, to "I'm a simple dog, really" with the dog with the big grin, to the gut-wrenching chained-up dog - "I don't understand", to the excitement of a "good stick" - all of these photos and captions provided me with the possibility that there is much more there (in dogs) than meets the eye. Call it anthropomorphising if you want, but I will henceforth look at dogs in a slightly different light (albeit still from a safe distance).
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By DoubleEll on October 6, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book as a gift for my dog-lover brother, but once I read it I didn't want to give it up. Every single person who sees it on my desk flips through it, then borrows it, then doesn't want to give it back! We're all comparing the endearing characters in the book to our own pets. I open it whenever I need a good laugh. A beautifully produced book as well.
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