Pets can be a valuable part of a family, or a cause of tension between a child who wants one and parents who don’t. Of course, in the world of books we get both types of stories, as well as those about the interior lives of our pets, about kids who can talk to their pets, and that offer guides about choosing and caring for your real-life animal friends.
“I’m Not Missing”
by Kashelle Gourley, illustrated by Skylar Hogan
A dog on a missing poster explains that he ran away voluntarily to explore his inner lone wolf—the pressures of pet life were too much. He had to perform silly tricks for treats, someone was always watching when he went to the bathroom and trying to be a good boy all the time is exhausting. But when he sees his human with a different dog, he gets jealous and starts to rethink his lone wolf status. A fun look at the pressures of being a pampered pet and sly lesson in being careful what you wish for.
“The Pet Potato”
by Josh Lacey, illustrated by Momoko Abe
Albert wants a pet, but his parents aren’t so sure. In an ultimate “dad joke,” his dad gifts him a pet potato. Albert’s used to ignoring such things, but when he thinks the wrinkles in the potato’s skin look like a sad and lonely face, he decides to embrace his new pet potato with gusto. Together, they go on walks, play in the park and even take a bath. When Mom throws away the rotting tuber, Albert discovers he can grow a whole new family of pets to share the fun.
“Mister Kitty is LOST”
by Greg Pizzoli
Mister Kitty is lost and hiding somewhere in the pages of the book. A young girl and her dog need the reader to help them look, but each time they think they’ve found the missing cat, a page turn reveals something else! Clever die cuts, bright colors, unexpected animals and counting make this a fun preschool hit.
“A Backyard Pet”
by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Stephen Gilpin
When searching for someone to play with, Sugar the chick sees that all her siblings are taking care of their pets in the backyard. Even though some of their pets seem silly (Sugar’s not sure flowers can actually be pets), she still wants one of her own, and sets off on a search to find her own backyard pet.
“Cats and Kittens”
by Caryn Jenner
A great introduction to cats and kittens for beginning readers. In addition to seeing photographs of adorable felines, kids will learn all sorts of fascinating facts and information about cats, different breeds and how to care for them.
“April & Mae and the Animal Shelter”
by Megan Dowd Lambert, illustrated by Briana Dengoue
April and Mae are best friends. Even though April loves dogs and Mae loves cats, their pets are best friends, too! When the new animal shelter needs help, the girls each find a way to use their unique talents. April writes a letter to the local newspaper to urge people to adopt pets and Mae opens a lemonade stand to raise money. A fun installment in this early reader series that shows ways younger kids can help make a difference.
“Hedge over Heels”
by Elise Ciotti-McMullen
Reyna’s mom is in the military, so she’s used tomoving frequently and always being the new girl in school. When she starts at yet another school, she doesn’t want to make new people friends, knowing she’ll just leave soon, but she does want a dog. What she gets is a hedgehog that’s just as prickly as Reyna is. When her mom insists she enter Spike into a pet talent show, Reyna might learn to let some new people into her life.
“Pets and their People: The Ultimate Guide to Pets—Whether You’ve Got
One or Not!”
by Jess French
Why do cats hiss? What do pet snakes eat? Whether you’re interested in a pet dog, horse, lizard, bird or something else, this book will teach you all about their behavior, history and how to take care of them. There are even ideas for how to care for animals when you don’t have a pet of your own.
“Cat Girl’s Day Off”
by Kimberly Pauley
Everyone else in Nat’s family has amazing supernatural talents—her sister has X-ray vision and levitation! Nat can talk to cats. But when a film crew is in town to film a remake of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” the cats tell Nat that a shapeshifter has kidnapped the female lead and a celebrity blogger. Along with her best human friends and plenty of snarky cats, Nat has to take her own day off from school to save the day.
by Kiera Stewart
Olivia and her friends are relentlessly bullied and humiliated by the popular girls in their
middle school. Fed up with it, Olivia decides to fight back using dog training techniques she’s learned from her canine behavior expert grandmother. Her plan works extremely well, until everyone finds out about it in this pun-filled look at middle school popularity.