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

 Azarian. Candlewick.

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!









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9 responses to “Dogs!

  1. Julie Larios

    Love your list, Leda! One of my favorites is Maira Kalman’s WHAT PETE ATE from A-Z – SMARTYPANTS is good, too. I want a dog….

  2. Julie Larios

    P.S. Is that dog in the top photo REAL??? What kind of dog is that?

  3. Anonymous

    It’s a Puli, Julie. Since it rhymes with your name, you should probably get one.

  4. terrypierce

    I don’t think that’s a dog in the photo–it’s a mop with teeth! Wow, an amazing picture. One of my favorite dog books is THE HALLOWEINER by Dav Pilkey. A bit seasonal, but it makes me laugh every time. Now, can we please bring back Kathi Appelt back to write a post about CATS? 🙂

  5. Laura Kvasnosky

    What a great list — to which i would add HARRY AND LULU by Arthur Yorinks. It is hilarious.

  6. sharrywright

    How about Theodor and Mr. Balbini by Petra Mathers? It might be out of print but would be worth digging up; so funny and sweet and will make you appreciate the fact that your dog can’t actually talk!

  7. Bigfoot

    Leda, as soon as I saw the title of this post, I knew you must have written it. This is a great list. MARTHA SPEAKS is one of my very favorites of all time. Harry should definitely be featured in a major motion picture.

    I’d add Norman Bridwell’s CLIFFORD THE SMALL RED PUPPY, a book I’m certain helped start me on my way to becoming a dog person.

    Some of my other favorite dog books: SAY HELLO TO ZORRO! by Carter Goodrich, LETTERS FROM A DESPERATE DOG by Eileen Christelow, CLAUDE THE DOG: A CHRISTMAS STORY by Dick Gackenbach, THE HOUND FROM THE POUND by Jessica Swaim, and HOW ROCKET LEARNED TO READ by Tad Hills.

    And, forgive me Leda, but I’d add another with a dog who dies…Eric Rohmann’s BONE DOG. I love that book. Even though there’s sadness, there’s also comfort in that the dog doesn’t let death keep her from being with her person.

  8. ledas

    Excellent suggestions, everybody! Thanks for stopping by.

  9. Julie Larios

    Only a Puli costs about as much as our car.  Of course, a Puli won't need gas. Of course, she will need food. But it's going to be Nando or a dog, because he's not having one. Hmmmmm. I would love to have a dog that looked like a mop. If I name the dog Sweetie, I'll probably be fine with no Nando. Oh, I don't mean that. Julie

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