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Teaching children about pets is a door into learning about animals in a very relatable way for young children. Pets are something many children have prior knowledge about, even if the pet isn’t their own. These books about pets for are perfect for young children. Their messages range from silly to profound, and sometimes both, and also focus on empathy and caring for others.
Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd
Dog’s Colorful Day is about a dog that wanders around town and gets different spots of color on himself. He runs, rolls and trots right into colors from paint, jam, ice cream, and more. A cute story that makes learning colors and numbers lots of fun. My son loved identifying the different colors and also enjoyed repeating words like splatting, squashing and squishing that described how the colors got on the dog’s beautiful white fur. We were even able to weave in the importance of caring for a dog as he needed a bath to wash off all his colors.
Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
Harry the Dirty Dog is a classic story about a white dog with black spots that does not want to take a bath. Instead, he decides to hide the scrub brush and go on an adventure all the while getting very dirty. When he tries to return home, he is almost unrecognizable by his own family!
I Wanna Iguana by Karen Kaufman Orloff
I Wanna Iguana captures a young boy’s desire to persuade his mom to let him have a pet iguana. Through detailed and humorous written exchanges, the boy and mom go back and forth with their reasons for having (or not having) an iguana as a pet. The colorful illustrations definitely captivate the imagination of what life with a full grown iguana might actually be like! A great read aloud for teaching point of view and persuasive writing!
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by James Dean
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes has become a favorite on our bookshelf as it has a catchy rhythm and rhyme to read or sing aloud. We love Pete’s easy going personality as he demonstrate resilience with positive responses as he continues to step in things that mess up his brand new white shoes. This book is very interactive and well loved!
The Pigeon Wants a Puppy by Mo Willems
The Pigeon Wants a Puppy is a fun read by Mo Willems that once again shows the demanding Pigeon’s persuasiveness and tantrums in a playful way. Pigeon is certain that he wants a puppy and will take excellent care of it- until he actually gets one and realizes that he may not want a big, slobbery, hairy pup! This book is great for demonstrating the desire for a pet and the actual realization of all that caring for a pet entails.
Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev
Strictly No Elephants is a touching story that spreads the message of friendship and inclusion. When a boy and his (small) pet elephant are excluded from the pet club meeting, they stick together and find another excluded pair to share a similar story. A new pet club is started and “ALL ARE WELCOME!” An excellent book that includes exotic pets to teach tolerance.
Tails are Not for Pulling by Elizabeth Verdick
Tails are Not for Pulling is a book for pet owners that teaches how to interact with and care for pets. Young readers will learn what is considered appropriate for interacting with animals and what to listen/watch for if an animal is “telling” you hands off. We liked the tips for parents at the end of the book to further teach small children how to treat animals with kindness and respect.
May I Pet Your Dog? by Stephanie Calmenson
May I Pet Your Dog? is a how-to guide for kids meetings dogs and dogs meeting kids is an excellent way to introduce interaction with unknown dogs. Using a kind and gentle dachshund as the main character, young readers will learn the guidelines for cautiously approaching and getting permission from the dog and owner to proceed with an interaction.
What Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss
What Pet Should I Get? touches on the age old childhood desire to get a pet, but also how difficult it may be to choose just ONE. Dr. Seuss takes you through a rhythmic adventure of two siblings trying to settle on which pet to get. Silly and outlandish animals are presented by Seuss, sparking lots of conversations about the many different kinds of pets out there! We loved imagining what it might be like to own a Yent!
“Let’s Get a Pup!” by Bob Graham
“Let’s Get a Pup!” Said Kate is a touching adoption story that tells of a little girl who wanted a puppy. After examining a variety of pups at the local shelter, they found the right one- however, an older dog tugged at their heart strings as they were leaving, finding room for just one more!
Oh, Theodore! by Susan Katz
Oh, Theodore! is a poetic story of a little boy who wanted a pet and had to reluctantly settle on a guinea pig. Theodore the guinea pig ends up teaching him so much about caring for a pet. We especially enjoyed the themes of patience, responsibility, and love woven throughout.
I am the Dog I am the Cat by Donald Hall
I am the Dog I am the Cat is a poem that goes back and forth between a dog and a cat, touching on their stark preferences. As their differences are analyzed, you also learn more about what makes these two animals some of our best companions. This text would be perfect for a compare and contrast venn diagram.
Pets at the White House by Marge Kennedy
Pets at the White House is a nonfiction Scholastic newsreader that introduces readers to the names and breeds of animals that have graced the White House. From the seven goats, three ponies, a raccoon, dogs, cats, and even more- it’s fun to discover the animals who have been pets of the Presidents of the United States. We enjoyed how it gave more of a glimpse into the personalities and real lives of past presidents.
A Fish Out of Water by Helen Palmer
A Fish Out of Water is a fun and whimsical tale that teaches the very important lesson that being a pet owner is a big responsibility. When the young pet owner doesn’t follow instructions and over feeds his goldfish, silly chaos ensues. We loved imagining all that might happen with our new fish if we didn’t care for it properly.
Lola Gets a Cat by Anna McQuinn
If your child wants a new pet, consider sharing Lola Gets a Cat with them.
Pet Show! by Ezra Jack Keats
Archie’s pet runs away in Pet Show! But his fast thinking helps him come up with a brilliant idea!
The Perfect Pet by Margie Palatini|
The Perfect Pet is a fantastic book to share with your child if they REALLY want a pet.
Look & Learn: Pets by National Geographic Kids|
Look & Learn: Pets introduces your children to many different types of family-friendly pets.
Little Kids First Big Book of Pets by Catherine Hughes
Your little learners will learn everything there is to know about pets in Little Kids First Big Book of Pets.
I’ll Always Love You by Hans Wilhelm
Losing a pet can be hard, but I’ll Always Love You can be a comforting read to a child who has just lost their pet.
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