Pets are a very popular subject in children’s literature, so I’ve curated a list of my 15 favorite pet-themed picture books. This list includes a variety of different pets, from dogs, cats, and goldfish to much more unconventional animal companions. Each of these books exemplifies the joy of having a pet.
Lily looks out her window and is delighted to see a lost dog in the garden. He’s very big and a bit grumpy, but Lily loves him anyway. What she doesn’t realize is that her new “doggy” is actually a bear that has escaped from the local zoo!
An independent pooch adopts a human companion in this delightfully witty role-reversal. Kids and parents will be laughing out loud.
A lonely stray cat longs to find somewhere to belong. When he falls asleep on an old dinghy and floats out to sea, the scrawny cat finds an unexpected new home.
A brother and sister go shopping for a pet, and have a very hard time choosing what to get! This never-before-seen Dr. Seuss book was created from a 50-year-old manuscript that was recently discovered in the late author’s home.
One little boy just wants a dog like everyone else. His mother says he needs to be happy with the pet he has – a goldfish. But can a goldfish be as much fun as a dog? This story is hilarious and includes a positive message.
Petunia loves skunks, and is dying to have one for a pet. When her parents tell her that skunks stink, Petunia doesn’t believe them. How could something so cute be stinky? The illustrations – rendered in charcoal with accents of purple watercolor – perfectly compliment this charming story.
Mr. Bud has a nice, predictable life, until a new dog joins the family and shakes things up! The illustrations flawlessly capture the big personalities of these adorable dogs.
Alex wants a pet iguana more than anything, but first he has to convince his mother to let him have one. The entire story is told through a series of notes between Alex and his mother, complemented by hysterical illustrations that depict the potential hijinks that accompany life with an iguana.
A boy adopts a dog from a shelter, and wonders about what his life used to be like. This is a moving story that celebrates the joy that comes from adopting a pet.
What’s a girl to do when her mother says she must choose a pet that doesn’t need to be walked, bathed or fed? Why, get a pet sloth, of course! Stunningly beautiful pencil and watercolor illustrations enhance this quirky story.
A pony is taken from his home when his rider outgrows him. Though he tries to make the best of his new life at the circus, he never forgets his first owner and hopes that someday they’ll meet again. This heartwarming story is sad at times but the ending is incredibly uplifting.
Flash is an energetic puppy who is always getting into trouble. The sparse, rhythmic text is perfect for beginning readers, and the watercolor illustrations are absolutely enchanting.
A boy takes his disappointing goldfish to school hoping to trade him for a “good” pet. But after a series of mishaps, the boy realizes that his pet might not be so bad after all.
Granny Gomez’s pet pig Jigsaw is the perfect companion. But soon he grows too big for her house, so Granny builds Jigsaw his very own barn! The story and illustrations are delightful, and Granny Gomez is a compassionate, capable lady who readers will admire.
Henry wants a dog more than anything, so he puts an ad in the newspaper. When a lonely duck sees the ad, he disguises himself as a dog hoping to finally getting a friend. Though Henry quickly learns that his new dog is actually a duck, he realizes that a duck might just be the perfect pet!