21 Woof-tastic Children’s Books About Dogs
by Dena McMurdie
Kids and dogs go together like cookies and milk. Big or small, dogs wiggle their way into your heart and become part of your family. They’re loyal companions, mischievous rascals, and masters of the pleading puppy eyes — especially when bacon is involved. For all the pooch-loving kids out there, here are some great picture books that celebrate man’s best friend.
Uh Oh, Rollo!
Rollo the bulldog has a talent for getting himself into trouble. He commits to everything 100 percent, and then some — like going after a chipmunk headed for a solid wall. You’ll love Rollo for his shenanigans and his goofy, blissed-out face.
I Want a Dog
Jon Agee has long been making readers laugh (see Life on Mars and Lion Lessons), and this story of a little girl searching for her dream dog at an animal shelter, which seems to have just about every animal under the moon except a dog, is a giggle-inducing addition to his canon.
Can I Be Your Dog?
Get ready to have your heart melted by Arfy, a letter-writing, homeless pup who sends missives to every household on Butternut Street, asking oh-so-politely for someone to adopt him. Will Arfy find his forever home? (I mean, who could say no to that face?)
Guojing’s created a poignant masterpiece in this wordless picture book about the slowly building trust between a scared, lonely puppy and a woman who puts in the time to win him over. The New York Times Book Review compared the author’s storytelling to Disney and Pixar, so you know you’re in for a treat.
How Rocket Learned to Read
Perfect for beginning readers like Rocket the spotted pup, Tad Hills (of Duck & Goose fame) offers up an adorable story about one eager-to-learn dog and an even-more-eager-to-teach yellow bird, who bossily — and helpfully — introduces Rocket to the joy of reading.
The Adventures of Honey & LeonAvailable from:
Funnily enough, the dogs in this one are more often than not sneaking around in the background. That’s because they’re on a covert mission to protect their dads while the two of them (based on the author-illustrator duo) travel on business. Don’t miss the European-based sequel, Honey and Leon Take the High Road.Available from:
Champ and Major: First Dogs
This charming little picture book introduces kids to Champ and Major, President Biden's dogs! Major is one of the first shelter dogs to live in the White House, and his brother Champ can't wait to show him the ropes! These precious pups are sure to steal any dog-lover's heart.
Maggi and MiloAvailable from:
Preschoolers love this upbeat story about an adventurous girl named Maggi and her steadfast dog Milo. The two of them set out on a frog-catching hunt and learn just how much they need each other.Available from:
Ed’s family members are all amazing in their own way, but Ed worries he isn’t special enough for them. This charming and funny story teaches kids the important lesson that there are many ways to be excellent.
The Perfect Dog
A little girl knows just what her ideal dog would be like — not too big or small and juuuust cuddly enough. She soon learns that the perfect dog is the one you fall in love with.
Sometimes you need to discover your wild side. Homer the dog goes away to wolf camp; his experience there will have your kids laughing and howling at the moon.
Love Is My Favorite Thing
It’s impossible not to love a book with illustrations this expressive. When Plum humorously gets into some mischief, he worries that his family will no longer love him. He quickly learns that they adore him just as he is, mistakes and all.
A Ball for Daisy
Told only in pictures, this Caldecott Medal winning book is a sweet story about losing a favorite toy to the carelessness of a friend. It also has messages of forgiveness and setting things right again.
Dogs are loyal, energetic, and happy by nature. Discover how they help people every day in this leveled reader book. Lots of pictures, stories, and doggie facts make it a hit with growing readers.
The Best Days Are Dog Days
Dogs have feelings just like we do. In this brightly illustrated picture book, a dog tells about exploring the neighborhood with his human sister. Perfect for the kid whose best friend has four legs.
Classic Canines from Kids’ Lit
What list of dog books for kids would be complete without some of our all-time favorite pooches to grace the pages of children’s literature? If you’re looking for a classic to read with your kids, try one of these:
The Poky Little Puppy
Go, Dog. Go!
Big Dog…Little Dog
Officer Buckle and Gloria
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2016 and updated in 2021.