Even the cultural historian in the family who couldn’t care less if the fish in the bowl floats back or belly up will warm to this book. It’s focus is not only that Americans have loved their pets throughout its recorded history, but also how they loved them (from adopting half-wild squirrels to the Victorian-era dogs and cats dressed in baby clothes and more). Our behavior toward animals changes with the economy, and with our class and celebrity status. Rich with photos, illustrations, and excerpts from letters, this book both educates and entertains. It’s best read with a warm, purring kitty in your lap.