20 Dog Picture Book Pleasures For Young Readers

Illustrated dog themed books for children
By Susan Tasaki, November 2014, Updated August 2016

You can count on librarians—they always come through with the goods! In the book review section of our Winter 2014 issue, we cover a handful of recent children’s picture books featuring dogs. But we knew that was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg—oh-so-many more deserve mention.

With absolutely no advance warning, we swooped down on two local librarians—Theresa McGovern and Carolyn Potter of the Marin County Free Library at Fairfax, Cal.—and asked them for a list of their young library users’ faves, not just recent, but across the years. Within hours, we had it in hand and are sharing it with you here. (Your local children’s librarians might suggest others—check with them the next time you’re in.)

As you’ll notice, the suggested age range begins at two and goes up, so if you’re looking for a gift for a dog-loving child, you’re sure to find one that’s age-appropriate. Many are available as e-books as well, though, traditionalists that we are, we can’t imagine anything better than sitting with a child, turning paper pages and lingering over beautifully printed illustrations.

Bad Dog, by David McPhail (2014)
Forgiveness and love triumph at the end of this charming story of a family dog who’s rarely on his best behavior.
(Suggested Ages 2–7)

Ball! by Mary Sullivan (2013)
A dog with a ball is one of the most relentlessly hopeful creatures on earth. Forced to go solo, the dog begins a hilarious one-sided game of fetch.
Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book
(Suggested Ages 4–8)

A Ball for Daisy, by Christopher Raschka (2011)
A wordless picture book about all the fun a dog can have with her ball.
Caldecott Medal Winner
(Suggested Ages 3–7)

Bark, George, by Jules Feiffer (1999)
What’s a puppy to do when he can’t sound off with an arf or two? (also, his Henry the Dog with No Tail).
(Suggested Ages 3–8)

Bubba and Beau, Best Friends, by Kathi Appelt (2002)
Bath day for Bubba and Beau and their favorite blankie—a sad, sad day in Bubbaville.
(Suggested Ages 2–5)

City Dog, Country Frog, by Mo Willems (2010)
Award-winning story of an unlikely friendship for all seasons (also, his Pigeon wants a Puppy!).
(Suggested Ages 3–6)

Dog Breath, by Dav Pilkey (1994)
Hally is a loving dog with horrible breath (also, his Dogzilla).
(Suggested Ages 4–8)

Good Boy, Fergus! by David Shannon (2006)
Fergus experiences the perfect doggy day—except for the bath, of course!
(Suggested Ages 3–5)

Harry the Dirty Dog, by Gene Zion (1956)
A white dog with black spots gets so dirty that his family doesn’t recognize him. This classic has been around for more than 50 years, and was named by the National Education Association as one of its “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children.”
(Suggested Ages 3–8)

Little Dog Lost, by Monica Carnesi (2012)
True tale of a curious dog adrift on a sheet of ice, seemingly beyond rescue.
(Suggested Ages 3–5)

Martha Speaks, by Susan Meddaugh (1992)
After eating alphabet soup, Martha starts to speak, and she has a lot to say (also, her other “Martha” books).
(Suggested Ages 4 & up)

Mister Bud Wears the Cone, by Carter Goodrich (2014)
Canine pals Mister Bud and Zorro encounter … the cone.
(Suggested Ages 4–8)

Mogie: The Heart of the House, by Kathi Appelt (2014)
A rambunctious puppy finds a home at the Ronald McDonald House. (Note from Bark: This one also appears on the Bark list.)
(Suggested Ages 4–8)

Sally Goes to Heaven, by Stephen Huneck (2014)
When Sally goes to heaven, she lives happily and helps her family on earth find a new pet.
(Suggested Ages 5–8)

Skunkdog, by Emily Jenkins (2008)
Dumpling is a lonely dog with no sense of smell and no friends—until she meets a skunk!
(Suggested Ages 4–8)

The Stray Dog, by Marc Simont (2001)
A heartwarming tale of a stray dog who finds a home.
Caldecott Honor
(Suggested Ages 4–8)

Trouper, by Meg Kearney (2013)
A moving story of a three-legged stray dog who finds a loving boy to call his own.
(Suggested Ages 4–8)

The Way I Love You, by David Bedford (2005)
A little girl celebrates all of the ways she loves her puppy.
(Suggested Ages 4 & up)

And, of course, these classic picture book series featuring two favorite canines: 

Good Dog, Carl, by Alexandra Day (Suggested Ages 4–8)

and 

McDuff Moves In, by Rosemary Wells (Suggested Ages 2–5)

 

Note from the librarians: Some descriptive content provided in our library catalog by Syndetics.

Susan Tasaki is a The Bark contributing editor.

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