Picture Books : Who Let the Dogs Out?

Which makes the better pet, dogs or cats?

This question might be one of the most disputed issues ever, causing family and friends to fight like—well, like cats and dogs.

Take my sistcats vs dogser Faye and her daughters, Megan and Katie, who for the most part are quite intelligent. However, they each have not only their own cats, but a couple (or several) rescue cats as well. Their kindness to animals is impressive, but, in my opinion, they have chosen the wrong pet to champion.

I am obviously a dog person. My dogs greet me at the door with leaps and breathy whines. They sit or lie as near to me as they can—even if I don’t have food. They sleep outside my bedroom door. If I recline in my chair to take forty winks, Lucy will crawl up and arrange her 50-pound bulk on me. They are so SO grateful for their dinner, whatever it is.

These recent picture books must have been written and illustrated by dog people, because they have so nicely captured the personalities of their dog protagonists. One of the things I like best about most of these dogs is that they could be mixed breeds (mutts)—and I like to think that they were all rescued in some way.

I'm My Own DogI’m My Own Dog by David Ezra Stein. 9780763661397. 2014. Gr PK-2.

The very independent dog in this book claims that nobody owns him; he owns himself. He gets his own slippers, throws and fetches his own stick, and tells himself that he is such a good dog. He takes care of all of his own needs…well, except for that one itchy spot on his back that he can’t quite reach. But just because he likes to be scratched—just in that one place, mind you—doesn’t mean that he isn’t still his own dog.

Little puppyLittle Puppy and the Big Green Monster by Mike Wohnoutka. 9780823430642. 2014. Gr PK-1.

Little Puppy has a ball and he wants to play, but everyone is either too busy, too lazy, too mean, or too boring—except maybe for that guy sitting on the bench. However, Little Puppy doesn’t know much about body language or facial expressions or growls, and the Big Green Monster just wants to be left alone with his book. Ball = $.50; book = $10.00; showdown between an optimistic puppy and a a grouchy monster = priceless! (This is Mike Wohnoutka’s first book that he both wrote and illustrated, and we hope it’s not the last! Check in to Mackin Books in Bloom tomorrow for an interview with Mike.)

Shoe DogShoe Dog by Megan McDonald (illus. by Katherine Tillotson). 9781416979326. 2014. Gr K-2.

The adorable puppy now has a new home with She, Herself who called him a good boy. But when puppy discovers that her mistress’s bright red high heel is great to chew, he gets in trouble. Any type of shoe will do—high heels, flip flops, sneakers, books, all are intoxicating! She, Herself calls him a bad dog and threatens to take him back, but is that enough to stop him? McDonald’s puppy, drawn with scribbles, shows his high energy and impulsive nature.

This Book Just Ate My DogThis Book Just Ate My Dog! by Richard Byrne. 9781627790710. October 2014. Gr K-2.

Bella is walking her pooch across the page when suddenly the dog disappears into the gutter of the book. “This book just ate my dog!” she tells her friend Ben, who volunteers to check things out. He disappears, too, as well as several emergency vehicles, and then Bella herself. How will they ever escape? Maybe the readers will be able to help. This clever interactive picture book will be a hit in storytime with one or with a group.

Can’t get enough of dogs? Here are more new dog books to check out:

Bad Dog Flash by Ruth Paul. 9781492601531. October 2014. Gr PK-1.

Doctor White by Jane Goodall (illus. by Julie Litty. 9789888240746. 2014. Gr K-3.

Dog Days of School by Kelly DiPucchio (illus. by Brian Biggs). 9780786854936. 2014. Gr PK-2.

Hickory Dickory Dog by Alison Murray. 9780763668266. 2014. Gr PK-K.

Mister Bud Wears the Cone by Carter Goodrich. 9781442480889. 2014. Gr K-2.

Mogie : The Heart of the House by Kathi Appelt (illus. by Marc Rosenthal). 9781442480544. 2014. Gr PK-3.

Rags : Hero Dog of WWI : A True Story by Margot Theis Raven (illus. by Petra Brown). 9781585362585. 2014. Gr 1-4.

Time for Bed, Fred! by Yasmeen Ismail. 9780802735980. 2014. Gr PK-1.

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