Children relish having stories read aloud to them, particularly when the tales include animals! From cantankerous cats to heroic hounds, below are a few of our favorite short stories and picture books about pets. Each turn of the page will enchant both adults and children alike with memorable limericks, rhymes and dynamic illustrations of the best feline and canine characters in literature.
The Napping House –Genius co-authors of numerous bestselling children’s books, Audrey and Don Wood pair together to create another classic about how humans interact with animals. This visually engaging story depicts what happens when one tiny creature interrupts all the animals and human inhabitants during naptime, in a beautiful country house. Children will be captivated by the intricate illustrations of the cat, dog, mouse and flea for hours at a time!
Mr. Wuffles – Another award-winning book, the 2013 publication of David Wiesner’s illustrated comic-book style story, expressively communicates with few words. Mr. Wuffles the cat plays attentively with a toy, until his finds that it is actually a small spaceship with aliens inside!
Skippyjon Jones (Series) –Judy Schachner writes and illustrates the delightful adventures of a Siamese cat named Skippyjon Jones and his Chihuahua friends. With rhymes, Spanglish phrases, word-plays and humor for all ages, this series has proven a well-reviewed favorite, and is always counted among most popular children’s books.
Pete the Cat (Series) –This popular picture-book series by Eric Litwin, follows the adventures of Pete the cat who wears shoes on his feet, just like any other little boy. The New York Times Bestselling stories first published in 2008 include, I Love My White Shoes, Rocking in My School Shoes, His Four Groovy Buttons, and Pete the Cat Saves Christmas. These books are not only entertaining, but they also provide children interesting insights into life as a cat.
Good boy, Fergus –This disaster-prone West Highland Terrier named Fergus, likes to muddy his paws by chasing cats, munching on daisies, and turning his back whenever he is called. David Shannon’s colorful story introduces a mischievous and lovable character that will have both children and adults laughing together while Fergus flirts with catastrophe.
The Cat in the Hat –No list of children’s literature would be complete without a nod to the gregarious Dr. Seuss. Whether it is the iconic The Cat in the Hat or one of his many unique animal-filled stories, the creative license of Dr. Seuss knows no bounds. For decades children have learned to read by his rhymes on boldly painted pages, and have fallen in love unforgettable characters like the wily Cat in the Hat!
Shiloh –A novel for older children, this Newberry Medal winner by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor has been a treasured book since its publication in 1991. Touching on weighty concepts, the book describes the journey of boy who faces great ethical and emotional dilemmas when he finds an abused Beagle and does everything in his power to rescue and protect him.
Go Dog Go! –Evidently edited by Dr. Seuss, this colorful book by P.D Eastman takes readers on a speedy adventure with every kind of dog you can imagine. Children can practice their reading skills, while the canines bounce, skate, cycle, race, and eventually find true love.
The Tale of Tom Kitten –Beatrix Potter certainly had an affinity for animals. Her clever character Tom Kitten and his feline friend Tabitha Twitchit subtly instruct readers about right and wrong, as well as how to exhibit polite behavior. Her book The Story of Miss Moppet is another charming commentary on the consequences of how cats tease mice. Potter’s classic books are meant to be held by hands large and small, and continue to be popular with children around the world.
Clifford the Big Red Dog –This imaginative collection brings life to every child’s dream: a giant puppy dog. This series by Norman Bridwell includes nearly 40 stories describing the adventures of Emily Elizabeth and her enormous fire-engine-red pup Clifford.
Where’s Spot? –For over three decades, Spot the dog has been hiding from the attentive eyes of readers since Eric Hill first introduced him to the world in 1980. Each page has a flap, under which sneaky Spot may be hiding, making this interactive book a children’s classic for the ages.
Millions of Cats –Wanda Gag created this dynamically illustrated picture book for cat lovers in 1928. This Newbury Award-winning story is reminiscent of the Pied Piper, as the man goes out looking for a pet cat and comes back with millions and trillions of them. In a moral tale about the dangers of vanity, Millions of Cats is considered an important addition to any children’s library.