Images c. Tim Flach. Published by Abrams.
I know you’ve all been waiting impatiently for me to write this post. Some of you are probably checking the site daily, hoping against hope that the moment has come at last. In the meantime, you’ve been reading the brilliant posts of my colleagues and absorbing their wisdom, pondering their insights, and, if you’re like me, wishing you were as smart as they are.
So here it is at last. Doggerel. My favorite picture books about dogs, just in time for your holiday shopping sprees. Simplify, simplify. There’s at least one suitable book here for everyone you love, unless you happen to know somebody who prefers cats, in which case I am useless.
This list is really my homage to my own dogs. Without my Newfie/St. Bernard mix, Winnie (1994-2008), I never would have entered the wonderful world of publishing. Without Pogo and Pippa, my life would be a meaningless shell. (And without my husband, I would have lots more dogs, but he’s a keeper.)
Why only picture books? Because in middle grade (and older) kids’ books, dogs are often in serious trouble. Some have unpleasant lives. Some die. No more dead dogs.
I hope there are a few titles here you haven’t seen. I’ll start with an expensive-but-worth-it grown-up coffee table book that I have just received from my loving husband (after I told him to buy it, of course. Just being helpful, that’s me.). Then the rest are in alphabetical order. The earliest was published in 1956 (Harry); the newest just came out (Daisy).
All are terrific, so I’m not even going to bother annotating them because I’d just be repeating myself: “not to be missed,” “a masterpiece for dog lovers,” “both poignant and hypnotic,” “genius, pure and simple,” “the best book ever written,” and (of course) “soon to be a major motion picture.”
Have I missed any of your favorites? I’m sure I have. Chime in with suggestions!
Flach, Tim and Lewis Blackwell. DOGS. Abrams.
Feiffer, Jules. Bark, George. HarperCollins.
Graham, Bob. Let’s Get A Pup, Said Kate. Candlewick.
Lindenbaum, Pija. Boodil, My Dog. Holt.
Meddaugh, Susan. Martha Speaks. Houghton
Miller, Sara Swan. Three Stories You Can Read To Your Dog. Illus. by True Kelley. Houghton.
Raschka, Chris. A Ball For Daisy. Schwartz & Wade.
Rosen, Michael. The Hound Dog’s Haiku and Other Poems for Dog Lovers. Illus. by Mary
Rylant, Cynthia. Dog Heaven. Blue Sky Press. (Yes, the dog dies. But still…I love it. There’s
always an exception.)
Rylant, Cynthia. Henry and Mudge series. Illus. by Sucie Stevenson. Simon.
Sendak, Maurice. Higglety Pigglety Pop! Or There Must Be More To Life. HarperCollins.
Simont, Marc. (From a true story by Reiko Sasso) The Stray Dog. HarperCollins.
Zion, Gene. Harry the Dirty Dog. Illus. by Martha Bloy Graham. HarperCollins.
Collect them all!