You might be wondering what ARE the perfect pets for kids? And what would you name whatever pet you get anyway? Well, wonder no more — these children’s picture books can help!
Picture Books About Pets
You Don’t Want a Unicorn! by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Liz Climo
Get the inside scoop as our narrator breaks down the perils of unicorn as pets. They can’t be house-trained, they have really big unicorn parties, the horn is very destructive, especially after jumping, . . . it’s just not as awesome as you might think. What a helpful cautionary tale! (added to: 22 Magical Children’s Books About Unicorns)
Have You Seen My Invisible Dinosaur by Helen Yoon
The little girl has lost her best friend — a dinosaur. She just gave him a bath and now he’s invisible! She shares with us all the ways she’s tried to find her lost dino– luring him with snacks, putting up posters, until…he finds her! Comedic and darling, this engaging story with adorable illustrations is sure to delight readers.
The Wonderous Dinosaurium by John Condon, illustrated by Steve Brown
SO FUN! This boy wants a pet dinosaur from the Dinosaurium. In an introduction to different kinds of dinosaurs, each one he picks, he’s not happy with. Finally, he settles on a small, cute dinosaur that doesn’t eat as much as some of the others. A turtle! Or meiolania.
I Do Not Like Al’s Hat by Erin McGill
Herb is a magician’s rabbit and he’s sick of it — sick of getting pulled by his ears out of a hat, sick of the applause, sick of the hat. So he sets out to figure out what else he can do. His list: wild rabbit, veggie farmer, and pet rabbit. Guess what is the best fit for him? Being a pet rabbit for Sophie! A sweet story of finding your place with cool collage illustrations.
I Don’t Know What to Call My Cat by Simon Philip, illustrated by Ella Bailey
Our cute but clueless heroine will crack you up, or rather the cat’s face will crack you up as you watch her both try to name and dress up her new kitty, find a new temporary pet from the zoo (!) when her cat disappears, and then that goes poorly and luckily her cat comes back with some new name information. Kids who want their own pets will enjoy the perfect name brainstorm!
No More Bows by Samantha Cotterill
Hugo is a dog who hates wearing the bows his girl puts on him. So running away sees like a good idea but soon he misses his sweet girl and her silly bows. So he returns and makes a compromise — bow ties!
Charlotte and the Rock by Stephen W. Martin, illustrated by Samantha Cotterill
Charlotte tries to make the best of the gigantic pet rock, Dennis, her parents give her — they play games, go swimming, and even take baths together. (Their adventures are quite giggle worthy!) One night, however, something unexpected happens. Dennis hatches! You’ll fall in love with this charming story, the illustrations, and the surprise ending. (Check out this fun pet rock art and writing activity.)
Lola Gets a Cat by Anna McQuinn, illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw
If I Had a Dinosaur by Alex Barrow and Gabby Dawnay
A young girl knows all the reasons having a dinosaur for a pet would be the best. Kids will be sure to nod along at all her reasonable reasons.
The Princess and the Frogs by Veronica Bartles, illustrated by Sara Palacios
Even MORE Children’s Books About Pets
My Favorite Pets by Gus W. for Ms. Smolinski’s Class by Jeanne Birdsall, illustrated by Harry Bliss
Sheep are Gus’ favorite pets. Which is why he writes this hilarious report for his class. . . You’ll laugh as he explains the basics with a bit of elaboration. “A boy sheep is a ram. He has horns. They do not come off.” This text is paired with an illustration of Gus trying to pull off the horns with a rope lasso. Super funny and even a little informational . . .
A Boy and His Bunny by Sean Bryan, illustrated by Tom Murphy
Both rhyming and funny, you’ll follow along as the boy wakes up to discover that there is a bunny named Fred on his head! And this is the start of a delightful friendship.
Miss Hazeltine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats by Alicia Potter, illustrated by Birgitta Sif
Cat lovers will appreciate Miss Hazeltine’s love for cats who are afraid of everything, I know I do! Miss Hazeltine opens her house to all shy cats and gently helps them learn about birds, climbing, noises, new friends, pouncing, and brooms. The illustrations are whimsical and charming; the story is wonderful — the cats face their fears to rescue their beloved Miss Hazeltine.
Princess Cora and the Crocodile by Laura Amy Schlitz, illustrated by Brian Floca
One Word from Sophia by Jim Averbeck, illustrated by Yasmeen Ismail
This picture book is a great way to teach kids summarizing! Sophia really wants a pet giraffe for her birthday. She sets out to convince her family. She starts with her mother, a judge, and presents her case. Mother says that Sophia’s argument is too verbose. She tries fewer words with Father. But he says her presentation is too effusive. Sophia continues with each family member until she reaches her last-ditch attempt and says one word: PLEASE. And that one word works!
Poor Puppy and Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel
You’ll be laughing through this silly story about Puppy and Bad Kitty and the toys and games they play.
Lazy Dave by Jarvis
Lily thinks her dog, Dave, is lazy and sleeps all day. She doesn’t know that while he sleeps, he sleepWALKS! And while he does, he has all sorts of amazing adventures — even catches a thief robbing a jewelry store. What a dog! And a book. Short, sweet, and fun.
The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton
We loved this hilarious story of a warrior princess whose parents get her a kazillion cute sweaters — which warriors DON’T NEED. When Princess Pinecone asks for a horse, she gets a cute pony instead. (But totally cute.) Pinecone and her pony watch for the right moment to join in a battle but Otto the Awful runs straight at them!!! Instead of attacking, he pets the cute pony. Soon all the warriors are petting the pony. To help the warriors show their cuddly sides, Pinecone gifts them all her cozy sweaters.
Pirate’s Perfect Pet by Beth Ferry, illustrated by Matt Myers
Captain Crave has everything a good pirate should except for a pet. So he and his crew start searching for the perfect pirate pet. A crab is too cranky. An octopus too clingy. A pig, too muddy. An elephant, too big. But when he goes to the pet shop, he meets a parrot who poops on him and creates a ruckus — in other words, the perfect pirate pet. Dynamic illustrations and a rollicking adventure will make this a new favorite.
Frank and Laverne by Dave Whamod and Jennifer Stokes, illustrations by Dave Whamod
This book perfectly captures the differences between cats and dogs. It’s two different stories (flip the book to start the second story), one told from the irritated cat’s perspective and the other from the loving dog’s. You’ll be laughing as you read these truths!
Melissa’s Octopus and Other Unsuitable Pets by Charlotte Voake
The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read by Curtis Manley and Katie Berube
Nick, our main character, does everything with his cats — except read books. That’s why Nick decides to teach his cats to read, too. Verne, the cat, is interested but Stevenson, the cat, is not. Until . . . Nick discovers Stevenson’s drawing. All Stevenson the cat needs are words and he’ll write his own story to read!
Lizard from the Park by Mark Pett
Leonard takes good care of his egg and the lizard it hatches. When the lizard grows and grows, it’s clear that he’s unhappy so Leonard decides he must return his pet to the park. Very sweet story.
Bad Dog, Marley by John Grogan, illustrated by Richard Cowdrey
Mommy, Daddy, Cassie, and Baby Louie welcome Marley, a lovable puppy, into their home. But Marley doesn’t stay a pint-sized pup for long. He grows and grows, and the bigger Marley gets, the bigger trouble he gets into and trust me, it will totally crack you up. But not to worry, there’s a wonderful redemptive ending!
Bob, Not Bob! by Liz Garton Scanlon & Audrey Vernick, illustrations by Matthew Cordell
Libby and Pearl the Best of Friends by Lindsey Bonnice
These beautiful photographs capture the sweet friendship between a little girl and her little pet piglet. Each page shows the duo playing and having lots of fun together. It’s sweet and wonderful.
Naptime with Theo and Beau by Jessica Shyba
A boy Beau, and his new puppy, Theo, nap together. Aren’t they are adorable?
Stripes the Tiger by Jean Leroy, illustrated by Berengere Delaporte
Stripes is a tiger-stripped cat who wants to BE a real tiger. His owner gets so sick of his tiger antics that he takes Stripes to the zoo where he can see a real tiger. There, the cat and the tiger decide to change places which makes for a very funny ending.
Walter the Farting Dog by William Kotzwinkle, Glenn Murry, Audrey Colman
Walter is a fine dog, except for one small problem: he has gas. In the night when burglars strike. Walter has his chance to be a hero and change dad’s mind about getting rid of Walter.
Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo
When the Pet Club won’t permit elephants, the boy leaves sadly. However, he soon meets a girl with a skunk and other friends with unusual pets. Together they make an inclusive location for all kinds of pets in a wonderful tree house! This is a great book to teach about inclusion and acceptance.
Goodnight, Good Dog by Mary Lyn Ray, illustrated by Rebecca Malone
I love the illustrations and simple text that captures the dog remembering his day and his children and wishing himself good-night, good dog. Sweet and perfect for a bedtime read.
Glamourpuss by Sarah Weeks, illustrated by David Small
Cat owners know that living the high-life is precisely what cats aspire to do. And lucky for Glamourpuss, she’s lavished with everything she needs to be . . . glamorous. That is until Bluebell the dog arrives with a visiting relative. I love the vivid illustrations and true-to-life dreams of a diva cat — who transforms the dog into a glamorous dog!
Farewell Floppy by Benjamin Chaud
Floppy is pretty much a “useless” pet, so the boy decides to abandon him in the woods. (I KNOW, boo!) After he does abandon Floppy, he regrets it immediately. (GOOD!) After searching high and low, and panicking a little, the boy finds Floppy in a warm cabin with a girl and her dog having tea. Talk with your kids about the lesson the boy learned. Amazing artwork by the same illustrator as the picture book, Bear’s Song.