Best In Show

Bravos for Best In Show

Best In Show“My wonderful aunt Adelaide was a distinguished dog judge and took me to many shows. This delightful book, seen though the eyes of a child, brings it all back—the backstage grooming, the rings, the hushed and expectant crowds—but, most of all, it celebrates the magical connection between a little girl and her very special dog.” —Glenn Close, award-winning actress, cofounder of, and author of the blog Lively Licks

Best in Show is another champion in children’s literature. Karen LeFrak shares her love of canine competition and good sportsmanship, which kids are sure to love as much as they loved Jake the Philharmonic Dog.” —Carol-Lynn Parente, executive producer of Sesame Street

“If someone took such good care of me I’d win Best in Show too!!! Gem would probably still beat me with all those pom-poms. What an adorable book!”
—Joan Rivers, renowned comedienne, actress, author, and dog lover

“Karen LeFrak raises and shows the most beautiful Standard Poodles. In her newest children’s book for dog lovers of all ages, Karen follows the adventures of Gem from birth to the show ring. Not only is the book fun, it is highly informative and instructive. It is great for any dog fancier.”
—Martha Stewart, lifestyle media mogul, TV personality, and dog lover

“This delightful book is an ideal gift for any child who has ever expressed an interest in showing dogs, or who just likes watching dog shows on TV…Karen has done a great job of bringing the reader inside the sport of purebred dogs and capturing the thrill of taking a top show prospect around the ring, all in a way that will spark the imagination of the youngest dog lover in your life.”
—Dennis Sprung in the January-February 2011 issue of The Family Dog

IN A CITY OF CANOPHILES, it’s a difficult task to claim the title of Greatest Lover of Poodles. But if anyone can it’s Karen LeFrak. So when the winning dog breeder set out to write her third children’s book, Best In Show (Walker & Co.; $16.99) she made the most of her vast knowledge of the fluffy creatures. “They say its best to write about things you know,” she says. “I’ve been breeding and showing dogs for about 20 years, so I thought, Gee, what a great thing to teach children about –sportsmanship, camaraderie, competition . . . and standard poodles.” The book illustrated by Andrew Day, focuses on a youngster named Abby who believes one of her poodle’s puppies, Gem is destined to win the top title at the Westminster Dog Show. Readers will see her overcome obstacles on her way to the big finish. Was any part of the story based on LeFrak’s real-life experiences? “Absopoodley!”
–Meghan Blalock, Gotham Magazine, January 2011

Mrs. LeFrak’s latest literary contribution is called BEST IN SHOW, which on first glance is geared towards children. But the fact is, that the book is for dog lovers of all ages. Properly developed, it offers major messages about our sport and hobby. It is the story seen through a young girl’s introduction to the marvelous world of breeding and exhibiting dogs. It is magical in celebrating the relationship between a very special dog and an extraordinary young person. As importantly, Mrs. LeFrak succeeds in presenting an informative and instructive book which answers, deliberately or not, many of those animal rights critics of both the purebred dog and those who participate in the sport of the purebred dog. It is a feeling and experienced view of the show world itself and the art of raising a dog. I would strongly suggest the use of this book as a tool for Parent and All-Breed Clubs as an inducement to get young people involved in our sport. After all one of the harshest complaints the showgoer hears is about the so-called “graying of our sport.” Let me tell you Mrs. LeFrak’s book properly directed by parents and clubs could go a long way in helping to revitalize the sport itself among young people. Yes it primarily a children’s book but with a major positive message about our sport and hobby today. It is finely and intelligently illustrated by Andrew Day.
–Matthew H. Stander, Dog News

"A young girl, a pick of the litter and a special connection combine for a colorful and engaging narrative in this upbeat children’s volume. The youngster, Abby, is on hand when her aunt’s Standard Poodle Jewel delivers a litter. Abby spots a special fluffy white puppy and begins teaching it traits she hopes will shape her into a show champion eventually under guidance of Wendell, the handler. In the process, Gem (the dog) teaches Abby plenty of life lessons, too. But an unexpected opportunity of a lifetime in the supercharged setting of a big dog show delivers all the ingredients for a special fairy-tale ending. LeFrak, a breeder/handler of champion Standard Poodles, has a red-, white- and blue-ribbon winner here packed an intoxicating blend of passion and panache that will delight young and old." —Seattle Kennel Club

“Abby helps her aunt, the “kennel keeper,” and the kennel owner with a new litter of puppies born to Abby’s dog, Jewel. Abby chooses a white female named Gem as her special puppy and helps with her care and early training for puppy shows. Gem advances through the competitive world of dog shows, and at a major show, Abby shows Gem in a Best of Show round after the dog’s regular handler is injured. . . . Day’s watercolor-and-pencil illustrations create distinct personalities for the charming little girl and appealing poodle. A final page of “infurmation” answers some questions about dog shows . . .” —Kirkus Reviews

In a New York State of Mind
Welcome to our annual issue devoted to Westminster and the many activities that occupy this most important week of the year for all of us in the sport. This year the show took on even more significance as history was made with the crowning of a Scottish Deerhound for the first time. ‘Hickory’ was selected Best in Show by judge Paolo Dondina of Monterchi, Italy.

Handling the powerful, elegant sighthound with equal grace was one of our younger professionals, Angela Lloyd, who has come up through the ranks and is a genuine credit to the fancy. All in all, it was a magical finale to an always special show. It was a memorable week for another much-loved member of our dog show family with the book launch of Karen LeFrak’s newest project, Best in Show. This is an absolutely charming book written by Karen about a little girl who falls in love with a white Standard Poodle and takes her to the top, thanks to the support of mentors like Aunt Nancy and dog trainer Wendell.

A case of art imitating life with utmost style. Andrew Day provides the delightful illustrations and you’ll want to buy at least two: copies for the children and grandchildren in your life, and one to stay on your own bookshelf. Karen was busy signing books over both days of the show and is donating her proceeds to the AKC Canine Health Foundation and Take the Lead. Find out more at Karen’s website,

Speaking of publishing, Dogs in Review and BowTie Press had a winning day at the Alliance of Purebred Dog Writers Awards luncheon, held at Sardi’s on the Sunday before Westminster. Pictured are Jeffrey Pepper, author of The Golden Retriever, chosen Best Breed Book; Allan Reznik, Best Editorial, Dogs in Review; and Amy Fernandez, Best Article 1,500-3,000 words, “The Baker Institute,” in Dogs in Review. Absent was Rick Beauchamp who won Best Column for “National Specialties,” Dogs in Review.
—Allan Reznik, Editor-in-Chief, DOGS IN REVIEW, March 2011

Best In Show