Phillis Reynolds Naylor, Newbery books with dogs to fall in love with, Pragmatic Mom, PragmaticMom

Top 10: Best Dogs in Children’s Books

Best Dog Story Books for Kids

I’m a new dog owner and this is my first dog because you can’t count the beagle that we had when I was 2-years-old. Someone — maybe the meter reader? — left the gate open and he got run over and after that we just had a steady stream of Siamese cats. But now I get why dog people can be so over-the-top with their dogs. Dogs try to win your heart much more so than a cat, and these dogs in children’s chapter books have won untold hearts the world over.  Even if you are not a dog person, these dogs will convert you! These dogs are either rescuing someone or being rescued, getting kidnapped or preventing robberies, or just  a dog-about-town. Please meet some dogs to fall in love with! What dogs in children’s books have you fallen in love with? Please share!

Honorable Mention

A Dog’s Way Home by Bobbie Pyron

Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this story is told in alternate chapters through the voice of eleven year old Abby and her dog Tam about their harrowing adventures when they are separated and what they go through in order to be reunited once again. This book reminds me of Phyllis Reynolds Naylor’s Newbery series Shiloh and would appeal to boys and girls alike in grades three through five.

Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathman

Thank you to reader AScattergood for this great call! Gloria is man’s best friend, particularly for a safety police officer! [picture book, ages 2-7]

Go, Dog Go! by Philip D. Eastman

Thank you to The Cath in the Hat for this classic! [picture book, ages 1-5]

Three Stories You Can Read to Your Dog by Sara Swan Miller

Thank you to The Cath in the Hat for this great recommendation!

Good Boy, Fergus! by David Shannon

Thank you to The Fourth Musketeer for this great recommendation. [picture book, ages 2-7]

Stanley’s Party by Linda Bailey

Thank you to The Fourth Musketeer for this great recommendation: a hilarious picture book for 5 and up about what a dog that throws a big party when his owners are out of the house.

Once I Ate a Pie by Patricia MacLachlan

Thank you to The Fourth Musketeer for this great recommendation: for pure “AAWW adorableness”, I LOVE the poetry collection by which has poems and gorgeous illustrations about a number of different dogs.

 The Adventures of Lucy Snigglefritz by Patrick Milne

Thank you to reader Jennifer for this recommendation: I bought a WONDERFUL book for my niece from a craft show this past Christmas called The Adventures of Lucy Snigglefritz. It’s about a cute little circus dog. The author and illustrator were both present at the show and I talked to them for a couple of minutes. Wonderful people. It’s a self-published book and I wish them good luck with it because my niece loves it. The website is http://www.fayemousbooks.com.

Carl series by Alexandra Day

Thank you to Alicia for this great recommendation!

10. Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion, illustrated by Margaret Bloom Graham

I love that Harry is this independent, dog-about-town.  If there is something objectionable to him, he’ll do something about it himself whether it’s burying his bath brush or hiding the lady next door’s music. In this classic picture book, Harry gets so dirty that even his family doesn’t recognize him. What’s a dog to do when he hates the bath? [picture and board book, ages 2-8]

Harry the Dirty Dog, Gene Zion, dogs in children's literature to fall in love with, pragmatic mom

9. Walter the Farting Dog by William Kotzwinkle, Glenn Murray, and  Elizabeth Gundy, illustrated by Audrey Coleman

Let’s face it, farting is just funny, especially to kids and Walter the Farting dog is no exception.  Thank goodness farting can save the day! [picture book, ages 3-8]

8. How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O’Connor

Georgina is homeless and living with her mother and brother out of their car after her father leaves them.  She cooks up an elaborate scheme to kidnap a dog to then return it for the reward. She kidnaps a dog named Willy but things don’t work out the way she thinks it will. Will Willy teach her right from wrong?  [chapter book, ages 11-15]

7. Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes

Meet Ginger Pye, the smartest dog you’ll ever know. Jerry Pye and his sister, Rachel, feel pretty smart themselves for buying Ginger. It was the best dollar they ever spent. Ginger steals everybody’s heart . . . until someone steals him! Newbery winner [chapter book, ages 9-12]

6. Martha Speaks by Susan Meddaugh

Martha is a pretty amazing dog.  After eating alphabet soup, she can actually talk and this trick comes in handy at times! [picture book, ages 2-6]

5. Gooseberry Park by Cynthia Rylant

This is one of my middle daughter’s all time favorite books. It also has great vocabulary!

“An unlikely group of animals bands together to help a squirrel in need. ‘Readers will relish every moment of this impeccably paced fantasy,’ said PW in a starred review.” [chapter book, ages 7-12]

4. Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

This beagle, Shiloh, will steal your heart as it does Marty Preston who rescues Shiloh from his abusive owner. My oldest loved this series. Newbery winner.  [chapter book, ages 8-12]

3. Madeleine’s Rescue by Ludwig Bemelmans

After Genevieve rescues Madeleine from the Seine, she is adopted by her orphanage until Lord Cucuface finds out. Luckily it turns out well at the end. Caldecott Winner [picture book, ages 2-7]

2.Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

Dog guru Cesar Milan says that you might not get the dog you want, but you get the dog you need and Winn Dixie is exactly what Opal needs when she moves to a new town with just her father; her mother has left them. It’s unclear, at the end of the day,  if she rescues Winn Dixie or he rescues her, but then isn’t that the way it is with karma? Newbery Honor Book. [probably the best book I’ve ever read, especially for easy and short novels; chapter book, ages 8-12 with wide line spacing and short chapters]

1. Love That Dog by Sharon Creech

I love this book, this dog Sky, the boy Jack, and the author Sharon Creech.  And just exactly  like  Mr. Walter Dean Myers, poet and visitor of school classrooms that are clean with mostly nice kids, Sharon Creech is also accessible and excited when someone loves her books! I follow her on Twitter and she will will tweet back!  She’s @CiaoBellaCreech. [a pretty amazing novel in verse, ages 8-12]

To view any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.


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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom

14 Comments

  1. I have to mention a couple other dog books I love–
    Good Boy, Fergus, by David Shannon, a picture book good for ages 3 and up;
    also Stanley’s Party, by Linda Bailey, a hilarious picture book for 5 and up about what a dog that throws a big party when his owners are out of the house,
    and for pure “AAWW adorableness”, I LOVE the poetry collection by
    Patricia MacLachlan, Once I Ate a Pie, which has poems and gorgeous illustrations about a number of different dogs.

    So many great dog books out there!

    • To Fourth Musketeer,
      Thank you for all your wonderful suggestions. It’s always such a pleasure to have a children’s librarian give suggestions! You guys have the BEST ideas! Thanks and I’ll add to the list!

  2. Love, love, love all the Harry dogs, especially No Roses for Harry. And for beginning readers try Go, Dog, Go by P.D. Eastman and Three Stories You Can Read to Your Dog by Sara Swan Miller.

    • To The Cath in the Hat,
      Oh, I can’t believe I forgot about Go, Dog, Go! I read it about 3 million times to my kids! I am not familiar with the Three Stories You Can Read to Your Dog so thanks for that. Will add all these great new additions to the list!

      ps LOVE your name!

  3. I love dog books for kids! Having a rottie, I am partial to the “Carl” books. I can’t wait for my little one to be old enough to read them!

  4. Jennifer

    I bought a WONDERFUL book for my niece from a craft show this past Christmas called The Adventures of Lucy Snigglefritz. It’s about a cute little circus dog. The author and illustrator were both present at the show and I talked to them for a couple of minutes. Wonderful people. It’s a self-published book and I wish them good luck with it because my niece loves it. The website is http://www.fayemousbooks.com

  5. Excellent list. Dog’s Way Home is a new one to add to my list.

    I might add OFFICER BUCKLE AND GLORIA. Picture book that’s loads of fun.

  6. Harry the dog

    Glad I ran into this site full of great dog books, I’m going to bookmark this page because my kids and I love dogs. But come on, Harry the Dirty dog has got to be #1. You know its a great book if you still remember it after 20+ years. Our other favorite dog book is Toto the cloud dog. I get really somber everytime I read that book to my kids. But thanks for the great list, I’ll definitely try out your #1 pick

    • To Harry the Dog,
      I have a soft spot for Harry the Dirty Dog too! Thanks for your book recommendation. I don’t know that book but I’ll definitely check it out and add it to the list! Thanks again for leaving a comment!

  7. KJ Mansfield

    Here’s why I decided to write The Flyball 5: The adventures of 5 abandoned puppies.
    When I was only three years old, I climbed out of a window and wandered off to the local train station and on to the tracks.
    Luckily for me, the family dog, a Boxer named Raf, jumped out of the window after me and kept me company, instinctively pushing me away whenever I ventured near any of the electric rails that would have given me a fatal shock if I had touched one of them.
    Raf, who later had 13 puppies in a single litter, saved my life that day.
    The Flyball 5 is an entertaining read for everyone, young and old.
    Hopefully, it will encourage people to be kind to dogs.
    KJ Mansfield recently posted…The beginningMy Profile

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