Young readers love stories about animals of all kinds, but one could argue that dog tales lead the pack. After all, nearly everyone’s familiar with such classics as Janet Sebring Lowry’s The Poky Little Puppy, Beverly Cleary’s Ribsy, and Norman Bridwell’s Clifford the Big Red Dog. Here are a few other page-turners about pooches that Kirkus Indie can recommend for kids:
In Kim Messina’s 2020 rhyming picture book, If You Could Ask Your Dog One Question…, illustrated by Nataliia Pavliuk, a young girl ponders the many mysteries of her large, amiable black dog, such as, “Why do you have to howl, / every time I start to sing?” and “What’s with all that scratching?” Our reviewer notes that “Messina skillfully captures both the voice of a dog owner and the perspective of a child.”
One of the narrator’s questions for her canine friend in the previous book is “Does the cat boss you around?” In Lis Bensley’s 2020 kids’ book, The Adventures of Milo and Flea, illustrated by Miki Harder, feline Milo does just that to puppy Flea, who’s a new arrival in the household. Eventually, though, the eager-to-please dog manages to win the cat over. Kirkus’ review calls the book a “delightfully absurd tale with an affectionate understanding of the truth about cats and dogs.”
In 2019’s Dogversations: Conversations With My Dogs, David Leswick imagines fun exchanges with his pets—Brittany spaniel Eva and golden retriever Bruno—and provides plenty of charming color photos of each. At one point, Bruno tells the author that “there are a few striking pieces of evidence contrary to your flip-flops-are-not-meant-to-be-chewed position.” (In the accompanying photo, the dog is, in fact, chewing said sandal.) Kirkus’ reviewer calls it a “cute, fun frolic” for the whole family.
David Rapp is the senior Indie editor.