Selected and annotated by Hannah Muller
The Dog Days of Summer
Wet noses, wagging tails, floppy ears and puppy dog eyes–what more could someone ask for in their best friend? Dogs have been man’s best friend since the beginning of time, and they are often celebrated in books. This bibliography pulls together titles that celebrate all types of dogs, from goofy pups to dogs with important jobs. These books about man’s best friends are sure to delight dog lovers of all ages.
Coggin, Linda. The Dog Ray. Candlewick, 2016. 208p. Gr. 4-6
Daisy was dead. Well, until she was reincarnated as a dog named Ray. Even as a dog she still retains her human memories, and she makes it her quest to find her human parents. Detours and new friends are just part of the journey for Ray. This middle grade novel allows readers to see life through a dog’s eyes.
Engle, Margarita. Mountain Dog; illus. by Olga and Aleksey Ivanov. Holt, 2013. 224p. Gr. 5-8.
This novel in verse is told through two perspectives. The first voice belongs to Tony, a boy whose mother is in jail for dog fighting. The other voice belongs to Gabe, a search and rescue dog that is owned by Tío, Tony’s uncle who he now lives with. Tony and Gabe’s bond allows Tony to flourish and finally receive the unconditional love he needs.
Fogliano, Julie. Old Dog Baby Baby; illus. by Chris Raschka. Porter/Roaring Brook, 2016. 32p. 2-4 yrs.
This playful baby and lazy old dog are the best of friends. They tumble, play, and nap together throughout this poetic picture book in a cozy relationship endearingly depicted in soft watercolor illustrations.
Gale, Eric Kahn. The Wizard’s Dog; illus. by Dave Phillips. Crown, 2017. 288p. Gr. 4-6
This novel takes the legend of King Arthur and turns it on its head. Nosewise, a talking magical dog owned by Merlin, becomes the hero and narrator, and when Merlin and Morgana are kidnapped the only one who can save them is Nosewise.
Hest, Amy. My Old Pal, Oscar. illus. by Amy Bates. Abrams, 2016. 4-7 yrs.
A boy meets a new puppy friend on the beach, but this boy has no interest in the puppy. No, his pal Oscar was the only dog that he’d ever love. Slowly, the lonely puppy starts to grow on the boy and eventually the boy finds a new friend in the fluffy gray and white pup. This picture book is a great book for children who have lost a furry best friend, as it explores what is means to lose a beloved friend and gain a new one.
Kearney, Meg. Trouper; illus. by E. B. Lewis. Scholastic, 2013. 5-8 yrs.
Trouper, a big black three-legged dog, narrates his own story with simple text. Trouper’s story is all about finding a place to call home. All it takes is a boy’s love to make the once scared dog into a playful pup.
Keenan, Sheila. Dogs of War; illus. by Nathan Fox. Scholastic, 2013. 197p. Gr. 5-9
In this graphic novel, three historical fiction stories treat the bond between a search and rescue dog, a sled dog, and a companion dog and their respective owners. Each story has its own tone, but lovers of heroic dogs will find appeal in all of them.
McCardie, Amanda. Our Very Own Dog; illus. by Salvatore Rubbino. Candlewick, 2017. 5-8 yrs.
Taking in a new family member is a big commitment that involves the whole family. This picture book pairs the story of Sophie, a shelter dog that comes and lives with a new family, with informational text about what it takes to take care of a dog. This book will have audiences dreaming about what it would be like to have their very own dog.
McGhee, Alison. Percy: Dog of Destiny; illus. by Jennifer K. Mann. Boyds Mills, 2017. 32p. 5- 8 yrs
Percy is excited to meet his diverse trio of dog friends at the dog park, so excited he has to bring his special ball. He’s having a grand time at the park until a dastardly squirrel snatches his ball. Percy and his three doggy friends must work together to get Percy’s ball back. This hilarious picture book is sure to delight young dog lovers.
Milgrim, David. Moo Dog illus. by David Milgrim. Scholastic, 2016 32p.
In this easy reader Moo Dog and Moo Bird make the wrong sound; instead of barking and tweeting, they both moo like cows. This draws the attention of the other barnyard animals who don’t approve of Moo Dog’s strange mooing habit. Moo Dog and Moo Bird won’t let the other animals bring them down, though, and they just keep on mooing, much to the delight of irreverent young readers.
Monninger, Joseph. Whippoorwill. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015. 288p. Gr. 7-12
Clair’s next-door neighbors the Stewarts are what people call Whippoorwills, people who leave junk like rusting cars and rotting garbage in their yards. When the Stewarts get a new dog named Wally, he’s just another piece of junk that they chain up in their yard. Clair feels the need to intervene and help the restless dog out. Through her relationships with Wally, she also begins to know the Stewarts’ teenage son, and soon she realizes not everything as it appears. This young adult novel explores how animals can bring people together in ways they’d never expect.
Northrop, Michael. Rotten. Scholastic, 2013. 246p. Gr. 7-10.
Jimmer “JD” Dobbs is back home after spending a summer secretive summer “upstate” with his aunt. He returns home to find that his mother adopted a new best friend, a fearful Rottweiler that JD names Johnny Rotten. Over time JD and Rotten begin to understand each other, the truth about JD’s summer reveals itself, and both dog and boy begin to heal the wounds of their pasts.
Patent, Dorothy Hinshaw. Dogs on Duty: Soldiers’ Best Friends on the Battlefield and Beyond. Walker, 2012. 48p. illus. with photographs. Gr. 4-6.
This non-fiction title explores the many jobs dogs have in the military. It discusses everything from famous dog war heroes to the process of training and raising a modern military dog.
Pilkey, Dav. Dog Man; illus. by Dav Pilkey. Scholastic, 2016. 240p. Gr. 2-4
The creator of Captain Underpants is back at it with a new graphic novel, and this time Dog Man is our hero. Dog Man is half human half dog, but he is all cop who takes a big bite out of crime. In typical Pilkey fashion this graphic novel includes flip-o-rama pages and over the top crude humor.
Reeve, Philip. Pugs of the Frozen North; illus. by Sarah McIntyre. Random House, 2015. 224p. Gr. 2-4
This absurd illustrated book features two kids, Shen and Shika and sixty-six pugs in sweaters. Shen and Shika and their pug posse aim to win the Great Northern Race. Of course they are met with impossible and ridiculous challenges en route.
Rylant, Cynthia. We Love You, Rosie!; illus. by Linda Davick. Beach Lane, 2017. 48p.
This concept book explores opposites through a dog named Rosie. Rosie is sometimes asleep and sometimes awake, sometimes good and sometimes bad, but no matter her human companions always love her.
Sullivan, Mary. Ball; illus. by Mary Sullivan. Houghton, 2013. 32p. Gr. K-2.
What’s a dog to do when his girl goes to school? This picture book answers that exact question. This silly dog finds ways to entertain itself with his much beloved ball. But he’s quick to find out nobody is a better fetch partner than his girl.
Thompson, Laurie Ann. My Dog Is the Best; illus. by Paul Schmid. Farrar, 2015 34p. 3-6 yrs.
Everyone believes that their dog is the best dog, including this child narrator, who gives all the reasons why his dog is the best dog, while the dog lazily snoozes. When the child lays down for a nap, their dog finally wants to play.
Twohy, Mike. Oops Pounce Quick Run!: An Alphabet Caper; illus. by Mike Twohy. Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, 2016 32p. 4-7 yrs
Come learn the alphabet as dog and mouse chase each other though the house. With simple language and expressive and action packed illustrations this picture book makes the alphabet entertaining.
Wadsworth, Ginger. Poop Detectives: Working Dogs in the Field. Charlesbridge, 2016 80p illus. with photographs. Gr. 4-7
There’s nothing in the world these working dogs love more than poop. In this non-fiction title, dogs whose job is to sniff out the scat of different types of animals are the subjects. The text shows how the dogs are selected, raised, and eventually get to perform this smelly duty.
Yorinks, Arthur. Making Scents; illus. by Braden Lamb and Shelli Paroline. First Second, Gr. 4–6.
This graphic novel features, Mickey a human boy who was raised among his bloodhound “siblings” by his dog trainer parents and who has some eccentric habts, like scent tracking and playing catch with his mouth instead of his hands. When his parents are killed in a car accident, he must leave his unusual but happy childhood behind and move in with his aunt and uncle, who are not keen on the dog behavior that his late parents encouraged. Mickey must adjust to life as a ‘normal’ child and learn to live without his dog siblings.
Zuill, Andrea. Wolf Camp; written and illus. by Andrea Zuill. Schwartz & Wade, 2016. 40p. 5-8 yrs
Homer is off to camp—Wolf Camp, that is. For a whole week he gets to embrace his wolf ancestry, but being a real wolf is hard work for this pampered pooch, and Homer may have bit off more than he can chew. This picture book will have the pups howling with laughter.