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Teacher’s Pets: 7 Children’s Books About Classroom Animals

by Sharon Holbrook

Photo credit: OJO Images, OJO Images/Getty Images

It’s no secret that kids love having a pet in the classroom. Teachers know that it teaches kids responsibility and can build a sense of classroom community. Plus, it’s just plain fun for everyone.

Whether you’re reading about class pets to prepare for your class’s own, or have a child who just wants to imagine they’re a student in these one of these fun classrooms, there’s a class pet book for you.

  • 8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel ÷ 1 Dog = Chaos

    by Vivian Vande Velde, illustrated by Steve Björkman

    What do class pets do when the kids and teachers have all left for the evening? Well, that depends on whether it’s the day when Twitch, the schoolyard squirrel, and Cuddles, the principal’s dog, get trapped in the school with all of them. A mad chase through the halls and classrooms by dog after squirrel will only end when the resident hamster, rabbit, rat, fish, bird, snake, and geckos all unite to stop the dog and end the chaos.
    Ages 4 - 8

  • Warren & Dragon Weekend with Chewy

    by Ariel Bernstein, illustrated by Mike Malbrough

    Warren already has his hands full with his pet, Dragon — who’s either a stuffed animal or a 122-year-old dragon, depending on who you ask. But when it’s Warren’s turn to take the class hamster, Chewy, home for the weekend, he can’t say no. Things take a turn for the disastrous when Warren and Dragon get so distracted, they don’t notice Chewy is on the lam. Will the two friends — and Warren’s twin sister, Ellie — manage to return Chewy safely to school?
    Ages 5 – 8

  • Arthur and the School Pet

    by Marc Brown

    Christmas vacation is around the corner, and Arthur’s little sister, D.W., volunteers to take home her classroom’s pet — a gerbil aptly named Speedy — for the entire break. But D.W. is about to discover that she’s in over her head, and Speedy is really speedy. Luckily, with big brother Arthur on her side, D.W. and Speedy might just make it through the holidays intact. Part of the Step into Reading series, this one’s a great pick for children venturing into independent reading.
    Ages 5 – 8

  • Duck for a Day

    by Meg McKinlay, illustrated by Leila Rudge

    Abby’s teacher has a surprise for the class — and it’s a pet duck! Everyone wants a turn to bring the duck home, but “the duck has demands” — he needs an aquatic area, strawberries, and much, much more. Can anyone possibly convince Mrs. Melvino they’re responsible enough to care for Max the duck? When Abby and her odd classmate and neighbor Noah both try to prove that they’re ready, they and Mrs. Melvino unexpectedly learn a lot about themselves and each other.
    Ages 7 - 9

  • The Fabled Fifth Graders of Aesop Elementary School

    by Candace Fleming

    Before the first day of teaching his new fifth-grade class, Mr. Jupiter thinks that wrangling this rambunctious group will be “as challenging as discovering the lost city of Atlantis,” and he’s not wrong. Before long, the students are rallying for a class pet, preferably something of the mythical variety, and Mr. Jupiter acquiesces — with guinea pigs. This funny romp of a book will have readers giggling (and parents feeling extra grateful for great teachers).
    Ages 7 – 10

  • The World According to Humphrey

    by Betty G. Birney

    Don’t miss Humphrey, the cheeky, warm-hearted hamster star of these books. Humphrey thinks he’s got problems when his favorite teacher suddenly leaves for Brazil and gruff Mrs. Brisbane arrives. But things aren’t always what they seem. Likable, resourceful Humphrey discovers that every kid (and adult) has their own story and their own challenges and, more often than not, Humphrey is the one who can help. Like Humphrey might say, this series (now numbering twelve books) is “GOOD-GOOD-GOOD!”
    Ages 8 - 12

  • Og the Frog Series

    by Betty B. Birney

    If you love Humphrey, meet his new classroom companion in Life According to Og the Frog. A fun and ribbitting read! (Don't forget to grab the second book in the series, out now!)
    Ages 8 - 12

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2016 and updated in 2019.