“Spice” is my red-haired puppet who I took to Pet Smart last week for a photo shoot. There was a purpose behind this crazy adventure: In a few days I would be back at the preschool to read “What Pet Should I Get” by Dr. Seuss for Story Time. Knowing how much the boys and girls like Spice I thought it would be fun to show her checking out all sorts of “live” animals: dogs, cats, gerbils, birds, guinea pigs, lizards and even a baby python!
The short slide show was a big hit with the kids, and, of course, the snake received the most shrieks, oohs and aahs.
Leading up to Story Time I read a number of books about dogs in case there was time to read two books. “Help Me, Mr. Mutt!” is my all-time-favorite, but it’s too advanced for preschoolers. So, instead, I went with “Dogs!” by Gravett, primarily because it was short with good illustrations. Other titles I considered are below:
“My Big Dog” by Janet Stevens. This book is a Caldecott Award Honor winner for its striking illustrations. The story is also good and revolves around a golden retriever puppy that moves into a house where Meri, the cat, resides and rules. How the two work out their differences results in the perfect ending. 40 pages, $7.99
“Bad Dog, Marley!” By John Grogan. Colorful graphics, a baby called Louie, and a not-yet-trained-puppy named Marley - who creates havoc at home – turns this cute story into a sentimental one. Book is based on the bestselling book/movie, “Marley,” by the same author. 40 pages, $6.99 paperback.
“How Rocket Learned to Read” by Tad Hills. A tiny, yellow bird teaches his friend Rocket, a dog, how to read . . . starting with learning the alphabet, then sounding out words, to reaching the place where he can read on his own. Ideal for kindergarten age. 40 pages, $13.73 hardback (Also in paperback)
“The Pigeon Wants a Puppy!” By Mo Willems. “I want a puppy and I want one now!” makes it easy to grasp the gist of this book right away. But it’s a fun read as are all of the titles in this popular series. The minimal art and text fit well with preschool age. 40 pages, $9.10 Amazon price.
“Move Over Rover” by Karen Beaumont. A rhyming text tells the story of Rover who is quite content in his dog house until a menagerie of other animals pays him a visit and carves out a cozy spot at his side. That is, until a certain animal shows up. Cute ending. 40 pages, $14.76 hardback.
“Help Me, Mr. Mutt! by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crommel. A canine counselor, with expert answers for dogs with people problems, hands out advice to a variety of canines who write in about their owners. Meanwhile, the counselor’s cat (The Queen) offers her own view/advice. Adults like this book as much as kids. 56 pages, $13.88 hardback.
“Dear Mrs. LaRue – A Letter From Disobedience School” by Mark Teague. Similar to the above title only because “letters” are part of the story. This time it’s a dog writing to his owner, Mrs. LaRue, about his time at obedience school. A fun read with humor in graphics and text. 30 pages, $6.71 (new and used)
“Where’s Spot” by Eric Hill. This book has been around for a while but still quite popular. Kids love the lift-the-flap options on each page which keeps their attention and lends to asking them questions about the content. 32 pages, $9.83 hardback.
“Dogs” by Emily Gravett. Wonderful illustrations, like the one seen on the book’s cover, fill up the pages in this title. Young readers will be captivated by the various shapes, sizes, colors and type of dogs presented . . . and the surprise ending. Few words used in the 32 pages so it’s a quick read. $14.32 hardback (Also in paperback).
"Puddle Pug” by Kim Norman. If you have a "pug" at home for a pet you'll enjoy this determined pug who prefers waddling in the mud with pigs to his own backyard. One problem: pigs dislike pugs! 32 pages, $10.21
Books about dogs for adult readers
Katz's intended audience is adults and I’ve read and enjoyed almost all his works. “Running to the Mountain” is the first of his books revealing how he came to leave city life for the country and ended up buying Bedlam Farm.
Having mentioned Katz that makes me think of Cats. No doubt I've disappointed a number of you by focusing on dogs today. But don't write me off yet, there are oodles of books about felines so I will definitely consider a future post devoted to cat books which merit a review.
Until then, have fun reading and cherishing those around you, even your pets.
P.S. Some pet names are truly original. I grew up with dachshunds mostly named after cars (i.e. Mercedez). What do you call your pet?