There are many children’s books that include or feature dogs as key elements of the stories. These five endearing books are successful stories for children that also appeal to adults.
The Poky Little Puppy
A Little Golden Book classic, The Poky Little Puppy written by Janette Sebring Lowrey and illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren, was originally published in 1942. The endearing story is about five puppies who sneak under the garden fence and go exploring. One curious little pup has a mind of his own. He pokes along exploring at his own pace discovering all kinds of interesting things out in the world beyond the fence.
Written for young children, the simple classic tale has sold almost 15 million copies, which makes it one of the most popular children’s stories ever published.
Golden books began their series of stories back in the 1940s with 12 books, one of which was The Poky Little Puppy.
Written by Eric Hill, Where’s Spot is another dog book written for very young children. The text is good for beginning readers and easy for little ones to respond to when someone is reading to them. The interactive pictures with opening doors and entrances to hiding places encourage children to get involved in the fun story about searching for little Spot who is hiding. It is a book young children enjoy looking at by themselves as well.
When you think about the term “working dog,” this usually brings to mind one or more of the various jobs that dogs do, such as herding, search & rescue, police work, assisting the disabled, sniffing out explosives, or offering a therapeutic paw to hospital patients and others who need one. Those are just some of the ways dogs help humans. Bella the Boxer is a different breed of working dog, but her help is just as invaluable!
Bella is a self-described “dogpreneur,” and she’s written a very insightful book called Secrets of a Working Dog: Unleash Your Potential and Create Success. I’ve just finished reading it, and I highly recommend it. This great book is for anyone who wants to be successful in business as well as in life – and doesn’t that pretty much describe all of us?
It’s a fun read for dog lovers too, because Bella presents ideas that show how we can incorporate desirable traits canines have to make our own lives better. Such as, “Dogs follow their own instincts. We don’t worry about being judged or criticized by others…be your own dog and don’t let what other people think keep you from taking risks and pursuing your dreams.”
I hesitate to call Secrets of a Working Dog a self-help book, because that genre tends to have negative connotations. It was very helpful, though. It’s filled with pearls of doggie wisdom, bite-sized juicy tidbits and chunks of food-for-thought on how to create success and live a meaningful life – no matter who you are, where you’re at now on your life journey, or where you want to be in the future!
Those of us who love animals and dogs in particular often enjoy reading about them as well. When you think of great books about dogs you may picture children’s books such as Clifford the Big Red Dog or The Incredible Journey, but there are many books about dogs that are wonderful reads for adults.
Chicken Soup for the Soul: What I Learned from the Dog/101Stories about Life, Love and Lessons is an amazingly heartwarming book with essays that will make you laugh and cry, and make you realize just how many things we can learn from our canine family members.
Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog is a heartwarming story about the author and his dog Merle, and how they came together despite Merle’s freethinking ways. This book is a great look into the relationships between humans and dogs.
The Art of Racing in the Rain explores all the things that humans do from a dog’s point of view. It’s much more than a story about a dog though. The Art of Racing in the Rain tells of a race car driver and his dog, but goes on to detail the family that follows and the companionship that a dog named Enzo offers to them all.
Our pets inspire and enlighten us in so many ways. They teach us important life lessons, and their very presence can help us overcome our struggles and bring about positive changes. Thus it should come as no surprise that countless pet owners with a story to tell have written books about their four legged friends. Moreover, the public is lapping up these heartfelt tales, and pet memoirs are dominating the publishing world like never before.
“The entire book industry has gone to the dogs,” said Diane Herbst in Newsweek. Books supposedly penned by the pets themselves are also barking and meowing their way onto bestseller lists in unprecedented numbers! These first person pet memoirs have effectively created brand new genres – they’re called “dogoirs” and “catoirs.”
How did the pet memoir trend start?
In the past, “dog books didn’t get on national bestseller lists,” said Publishers Weekly senior editor Dick Donahue. “That’s something we can credit Marley with.” He’s referring of course to the dogoir Marley & Me, John Grogan’s account of his family’s relationship with a mischievous yellow lab.
First published in 2005, the book went on to sell more than 6 million copies and was made into a movie starring Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson. After the popularity of Marley, “People came out of the woodwork with their own dog stories,” said Susan Canavan, executive editor of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
It’s a known fact: kids and animals go hand-in-paw, and fiction books that feature pets are great fun. Children’s books that include animal characters are always a hit with kids. Here are a few favorites that my own kids love and enjoy.
The Bunnicula books, written by James Howe in collaboration with other authors features a pet vampire rabbit named Bunnicula, a mystery-solving cat named Chester and a lovable sheepdog named Harold, along with various other animal characters. The adventures of these precocious pets are played out in several short chapter books that are great read-alone books or read-together choices, starting with the first – Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery.
I grew up with a dog by my side and a book constantly in my hand. I loved reading about nature and animals, especially dogs. Some of the books I read as a child were classics then and are still popular today. If your child loves dogs, reading books about dogs is a great way to encourage them to read. There’s an excellent assortment of great dog books for kids to read.
Big Red, written by Jim Kjelgaard and published in 1945. Big Red is set in the Canadian wilderness. Seventeen year old Danny Pickett and his father are mountain trappers living in a small shack. Danny does odd jobs for their landlord, Mr. Haggin, who owns a champion Irish Setter show dog named Red. Danny falls in love with Red the moment he sees him and eventually convinces Mr. Haggin to let him train Red and teach him about life in the wilderness. Danny’s father has a run-in with a mean bear called Old Majesty who’s been killing Mr. Haggin’s steers. Danny and Red take on the dangerous task of tracking Old Majesty to stop the bear once and for all. This is a story about poverty, the privilege of wealth, trust, loyalty, determination, courage and love. One of my all time favorites, it’s a great dog book for kids that’s filled with adventure, action and the great outdoors.
Where the Red Fern Grows, written by Wilson Rawls in 1961. The story is set in the Ozarks where 12 year old Billy Coleman wants one thing more than anything else. His desire for a pair of Redbone Coonhound puppies is so strong he’s willing to do whatever it takes to earn enough money to buy them. After picking berries to sell and doing other odd jobs for neighbors, he finally saves enough money to buy his puppies and Billy wastes no time teaching them the art of coon hunting. This book is a tear jerker, but it’s an excellent story about the loyalty and courage of dogs.
The Incredible Journey, written by Sheila Burnford in 1961. Thinking they have been left behind by their family, a Labrador Retriever, Bull Terrier and a Siamese cat set off to find them. Traveling through the rugged Canadian wilderness, the three friends cover 300 miles. With danger around every corner, they are chased by wild animals, survive rushing rivers and hunger as they search for their lost family. This is another great book for kids that stresses the loyalty, courage and determination of two dogs and a cat surviving alone in the wilderness against overwhelming odds.
Barry: The Bravest Saint Bernard, written by Lynn Hall in 1973. This book is based on a true story about Barry, a Saint Bernard who lived from 1800 to 1814 at a monastery in the Swiss Alps. Barry’s job was to patrol the mountain pass used by travelers to cross the rugged mountains between Switzerland and Italy. Because of Barry’s bravery, he was able to rescue at least 40 people during his lifetime, making him the most famous St. Bernard of all time. To this day, one pup from every litter born at the monastery is named Barry to honor his courage and dedication. It’s a touching book that’s even more heartwarming because it is a true story.
Because of Winn-Dixie, written by Kate DiCamillo in 2000. Ten year old Opal and her father are new to town. While Opal is in the Winn-Dixie supermarket, she sees a dirty, ragged looking stray dog and adopts him even though everyone tells her to leave him alone. Winn-Dixie and Opal spend their days getting to know the residents of the small town. Winn-Dixie has a nose for trouble, but through it all, Opal and her dog become fast friends with the town’s more colorful residents. Along the way, she begins to understand some life lessons and learns how to let go of what needs to be left in the past. Opal also begins to develop a closer bond with her father.
Marley and Me, written by journalist John Grogan, is an autobiographical book about his life with a Yellow Labrador Retriever that chews on everything he can get his teeth on. Grogan chronicles life with Marley as he grows into an energetic adult. As Grogan’s family grows along with Marley, his exploits will make you laugh. This is an excellent book for kids that is funny and very entertaining, but does have a serious side to it.
These are some of my favorite dog books I’ve read over the years, and there’s many more just waiting for kids to discover. I still love a good book about animals and nature. The library is full of great dog books for kids to read, and it’s never too late to introduce a child to the joy of reading.
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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.