Full disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from Harper Design to review on my blog.
Some of you may already be familiar with Mitsuki Hoshi's work from her website. According to the Visitor counter, which is about the only thing on her website I can actually read, most of her visitors (over 35,000) are from Japan (not surprisingly), but she also has about 1,400 visitors from the U.S. Her books have been translated from Japanese into several languages, including English, Dutch, and French. Mitsuki Hoshi's work has appeared in pet magazines as well as craft books, and she also teaches amigurumi classes.
Ami Ami Dogs 2 is the follow up to her Ami Ami Dogs: Seriously Cute Crochet, which was published in English by Harper Design in February. My amigurumi book collection is fairly small (Annie Obaachan's Amigurumi Animals: 15 Patterns and Dozens of Techniques for Creating Cute Crochet Creatures, June Gilbank's The Complete Idiot's Guide to Amigurumi, and Amy Gaines's Cute Little Animals (Leisure Arts #4271)), so I was looking forward to seeing the review copy for Ami Ami Dogs 2.
Ami Ami Dogs 2 is a great little book. As the name suggests, it is focused entirely on dog related patterns. There are "full size" (a strange word to use for amigurumi, I know!) versions of 11 different breeds (Bernese Mountain Dog, Boston Terrier, Bull Terrier, Chihuahua, Dalmation, Hokkaido, Jack Russell Terrier, Japanese Shiba, Papillon, Shih Tzu, and Toy Poodle), and patterns for magnets and cell phone accessory projects to make with the same breeds.
The first section of the book is a two-page photo gallery of each pattern, which includes variations of each dog or project in multiple colors and poses. Most of the "full size" dogs would be between 2-1/2 and 4 inches tall (depending on whether they are seated or standing), and the accessories and magnets would measure about 1-1/2 to 2-1/4 inches.
This section is followed by a fourteen page technique guide. The technique guide includes numerous step-by-step color photographs, and demonstrates working in the round, changing colors, proper stuffing, and assembly. This guide would definitely be clear enough for most crocheters new to amigurumi, and might even be enough for some complete beginners who learn well from still images.
The remainder of the book is the pattern section. There are several things I really like about it.
Each pattern is shown through international stitch symbols.
Each pattern includes step-by-step written directions explaining the progression of tasks (e.g., "Crochet each body part. Stuff cotton inside the head, body, and legs. Attach the eyes to the head.").
Patterns include illustrations of variations (e.g., dog sitting, standing, or reclining; various ear poses, etc.).
The stitch symbols are annotated to indicate eye placement and other important assembly guidelines.
There are a few things about the book that could be improved.
There are no pattern abbreviations, so if you are uncomfortable using stitch symbols, this book may be hard for you to follow.
The supplies have not been well adapted for the American market. For example, when a pattern indicates that you need 0.64 ounces of white thread, should you use crochet cotton, sewing thread, embroidery floss, or a light weight yarn? Similarly, I haven't seen mohair thread readily available in the U.S. Obviously, you can adjust the materials but that might turn off some beginners.
Overall, I think Ami Ami Dogs 2 is a really cute amigurumi book. It has a really fun photo gallery that will inspire you to pick up your hook and make a little puppy of your own. If you are an absolute beginner to crochet, you will probably need an adventurous spirit to tackle the patterns. But if you have crocheted for a while, are familiar with stitch symbols, and/or have made amigurumi before, you will be able to make the necessary modifications and get started on a pattern right away.
I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. Overall, it is a visually stimulating amigurumi book. Even though all of the patterns are of dogs, the skills covered are applicable to any type of amigurumi.