Please welcome my friend and guest author today, Josh Funk! Josh introduced me to The Writers’ Loft and invited me to join. It’s here that I met so many wonderful children’s book lovers through the picture book critique group.
Josh is someone who helps create a warm and inclusive community in the children’s book world as well as a talented and hilarious writer. I’m thrilled to have him here today introducing his newest picture book, My Pet Feet, with his list of Top 10 Picture Books About Pets!
Thanks so much to Pragmatic Mom for hosting me today. In my new book, My Pet Feet, illustrated by Billy Yong, the letter R disappears, causing a pet ferret to turn into pet feet – in fact, this whole book was written with ONLY 25 LETTERS! It was both a puzzle and a challenge writing this story about a little girl who must avoid fogs and toads, babbling books, a flock of flying cows, and more.
My Pet Feet by Josh Funk, illustrated by Billy Yong
It was also a challenge narrowing down my favorite ten picture books featuring pets. But here they are – in alphabetical order (and none of them begin with the letter R, of course)!
Top Ten Picture Books about Pets
Alfie by Thyra Heder
Alfie is a brilliant book, told from dual perspectives (human/turtle). It’s a story about friendship, caring, and the search for the perfect birthday present. And while I should have seen the end coming, I was totally surprised and it cracked me up. Plus, Thyra Heder’s art is gorgeous! [picture book, ages 3 and up]
Beast in Show by Anna Staniszewski, illustrated by Joanie Stone
When Julia enters Huxley in the dog show, little does she know that he’ll be competing against aliens, robots, dragons, and … a unicorn named Bob? While Huxley couldn’t be happier to play around with these new “dogs”, Julia is in it to win it. But how will they ever beat Bob?!? I won’t tell you what happens, but sometimes an old dog can teach a human new tricks. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
Being a Dog: A Tail of Mindfulness by Maria Gianferrari, illustrated by Pete Oswald
I never realized how much dogs and their behavior could teach me to be more mindful. This is a wonderful guide told through the eyes of a canine – and it’s great for both kids and adults alike. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Cat Problems by Jory John, illustrated by Lane Smith
If you have a cat (or three) as part of your family (like me), every joke in this book will hit close to home. Get inside the head of the crankiest (and cutest) cat ever. From playing in boxes to constant napping to jumping at every single noise, this book is humor at its finest. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Christian Robinson
At this point, Gaston is a classic picture book – if you haven’t read it, it’s a must. In this tale of nature vs nurture, Gaston (a bulldog) is raised alongside a litter of poodles … until the poodle family realizes he was switched at birth with Antoinette who was raised alongside a litter of bulldogs. One of the most adorable picture books of the last century. (and for Antoinette’s side of the story, see Antoinette, created by the same duo) [picture book, ages 3 and up]
Invent-a-Pet by Vicky Fang, illustrated by Tidawan Thaipinnarong
Remember those flip-books that had three panels where there were a head, a body, and legs, and you could mix and match different characters? Like the head of a firefighter with the body of a pirate and the legs of a clown? Well, imagine if you were given a machine where you could do that, but with pets – except instead of head/body/legs, you had to figure out what each of the three machine inputs did by testing it out. That’s what happens to Katie. Hilarity (and science) ensues. Enjoy! [picture book, ages 5 and up]
James’ Reading Rescue by Dianna Wilson Sirkovsky, illustrated by Sara Casilda
While James struggles with reading in school, he cheers himself up by spending time at the rescue shelter with cats – and practicing his reading to them. While this isn’t (as far as I can tell) based on a specific true story, a great way to socialize cats in preparation for adoption is to speak to them. This is a very sweet book that will make you want to invite a feline animal companion into your own home. [picture book, ages 6 and up]
Me Want Pet! by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Bob Shea
Through trial and error, Cave Boy attempts to adopt pet after pet, but it’s so hard to find one that’s a fit for everyone in the family. A perfect read-aloud to break out your neanderthal voice, this silly story will cause giggle fits for the whole family. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
Sparky! by Jenny Offill, illustrated by Chris Appelhans
If you were told you could only get a pet that didn’t need to be fed, bathed, or walked, what would you do? You’d adopt a sloth, of course. This sweet friendship story between girl and sloth is heartfelt and beautifully written and illustrated – a favorite in my household. [picture book, ages 2 and up]
You Don’t Want a Unicorn! by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Liz Climo
If you’ve ever thought you wanted a pet unicorn, here are a whole bunch of reasons why you shouldn’t. I don’t want to spoil it, but let’s just say one reason is that you don’t want to know where those cupcakes come from. And in case you were thinking about adopting a dragon, the same duo also created You Don’t Want a Dragon! [picture book, ages 2 and up]
What favorite pet books did I miss? What are your family’s favorites? Tell me in the comments or on social media.
Josh Funk writes silly stories such as the Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast series (including The Case of the Stinky Stench, Mission Defrostable, Short & Sweet, and the forthcoming The Great Caper Caper), My Pet Feet, the How to Code with Pearl and Pascal series (including How to Code a Sandcastle and How to Code a Rollercoaster), the It’s Not a Fairy Tale series (including It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk, It’s Not Hansel and Gretel, It’s Not Little Red Riding Hood, and the forthcoming It’s Not the Three Little Pigs in the fall of 2022), the A Story of Patience & Fortitude series in conjunction with the New York Public Library (including Lost in the Library and Where Is Our Library?), Dear Dragon, and more; and coming soon: Dear Unicorn in the fall of 2023!
Since the fall of 2015, Josh has visited (or virtually visited) over 650 schools, classrooms, and libraries Josh grew up in New England and studied Computer Science in school. Today, he still lives in New England and when not writing Java code or Python scripts, he drinks Java coffee and writes manuscripts.
Josh is terrible at writing bios, so please help fill in the blanks. Josh enjoys _______ during ________ and has always loved __________. He has played ____________ since age __ and his biggest fear in life is being eaten by a __________.
For more information about Josh Funk, visit him at www.joshfunkbooks.com and on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook at @joshfunkbooks.
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.