SOME people go bird-watching. Or plant-finding. Often they take a book along, with pictures and descriptions so they can identify what they see. These books are called field guides.
But what if you want to go dog-watching?
It happens that there is just the book for you. It is ``Kids' Best Field Guide to Neighborhood Dogs,'' by Michael J. Rosen (Published by Workman Publishing, New York). It will certainly help you to recognize many of the dogs you are likely to meet. Suppose you run into a little dog that looks as if it has been draped with long hair all over, like some sort of walking weeping willow? You can't even see the dog's eyes or tell where its tail begins or ends. But if you have your Field Guide on you, you'll be able to decide whether it is a Lhasa apso, a Maltese, or a Shih Tzu. Or just a good-old shaggy mutt.
I like the pages in this book that show different kinds of ears, tails, coat colors, and markings. Some dogs have small colored ``eyebrow'' dots above the eyes known as ``pumpkinseeds.'' As for ears, there are bat ears and rose ears, button ears and drop ears.
If you buy this book, you'll also get one called ``Kids' Best Dog Book'' by the same author on ``how to be best friends with your [own] dog.'' Together the two books cost $12.95.
HERE'S a list of some other useful dog books you and your parents might like to have a look at:
* ``Taking Care of Your Dog,'' by Helen Piers. Paperback. $4.95. (Barron's Educational Series).
* ``When Good Dogs Do Bad Things,'' by Mordecai Siegal and Matthew Margolis. Hardback $18.45. Paperback $10.45. (Little, Brown and Company).
* ``Dogs and Kids: Parenting Tips,'' by Bardi McLennan. Hardback. $19.00. (Howell Book House).
* And - just out, for you cat lovers - ``Cats are Better Than Dogs,'' by Missy Dizick. Hardback. $12.50. (Doubleday). Apparently the cats are fighting back at last. `Kidspace' is a place on The Home Forum pages where kids can find stories that will spark imaginations, entertain with a tall tale, explain how things work, or describe a real-life event. These articles appear twice a month, usually on Tuesdays.