Thursday, September 9, 2010
It's a known fact: kids and animals go hand-in-paw, and fiction books that feature pets are great fun. Children's books that include animal characters are always a hit with kids. Here are a few favorites that my own kids love and enjoy.
The Bunnicula books, written by James Howe in collaboration with other authors features a pet vampire rabbit named Bunnicula, a mystery-solving cat named Chester and a lovable sheepdog named Harold, along with various other animal characters. The adventures of these precocious pets are played out in several short chapter books that are great read-alone books or read-together choices, starting with the first – Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery.
The Boxcar Children mystery books by Gertrude Chandler Warner, are great stories where pets play an important role with a group of mystery-solving siblings. Whether it is the children's dog, Watch, or the other animals that are featured, this series is great for young and old alike. With animal-related titled like The Animal Shelter Mystery, The Mystery of the Mixed-Up Zoo, The Mystery at the Dog Show, The Pet Shop Mystery, The Mystery Horse, The Dog-Gone Mystery, The Mystery of the Wild Ponies, The Mystery of the Missing Cat, The Mystery of the Midnight Dog, The Guide Dog Mystery and more, the Boxcar Children series brings kids and animals together for fun, mystery and adventure. What a great combination!
All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome by Kathy Hoopman, is a delightful book that puts a serious issue into perspective. It is a great book for younger kids who have a sibling or friend with Asperger Syndrome and even for a child with Asperger's. This is a sweet book where kitties are the star and help put things into perspective.
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis – no, these aren't exactly pet-related, but they do feature awesome talking animals and give them lots of personality. Kids love the personification in these books and enjoy the fantasy of talking to and working with animals as peers and friends. All of the books in the series feature intelligent, talking animals of all kinds. The main animal character is a lion named Aslan, but there are also mice, badgers, beavers, horses, and plenty of mythical animal creatures like gryphons and satyrs. This is a fantastic series that my own children love reading on their own or listening to at bedtime when I read a chapter or two aloud to them.
The If You. . . books by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond, are delightful fun for younger kids (and parents too!). If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, If You Give a Pig a Pancake, If You Give a Cat a Cupcake, If You Give a Moose a Muffin and more are wonderfully-illustrated picture books that have charming and endearing stories about some adorably fun creatures. The underlying theme is consequences, but they are funny and show that when it comes to dealing with animals, you never know what will happen next, yet the joy of the zaniness makes it worth it.
Books from timeless author Beverly Cleary (with Tracy Dockray) must be included on a list of pet books for kids. The Mouse and the Motorcycle is a fun adventure between a boy and a mouse with lots of personality. Runaway Ralph and Ralph S. Mouse gave readers more fun with this furry little guy. Cleary's classic Ribsy is the tale of the adventures of a lost dog. Ribsy wants nothing more than to get home to his beloved owner, Henry Huggins, but along the way this pooch finds a few adventures.
For more literary choices for your children, see Great Dog Books for Kids to Read.
Read more articles by Tamara L. Waters