Woof! 5 Great Books for the Year of the Dog
Happy Chinese New Year! It’s the Year of the Dog, so what better excuse to share some of our favourite dog themed picture books with you in this latest roundup. It wasn’t easy to narrow it down, let me tell you – dogs seem to be very popular as protagonists in books! So while this may not be a definitive list of our favourite dog books, it is definitely a selection of dog books we are e joying at the moment. Woof woof! Clockwise, starting from the top:
- Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy, by Lynley Dodd – It’s a classic, but I just had to start with possible our favourite dog book of all time: Hairy Maclary! I have lost count of how many times we have read this, I think we all know if off by heart now. Hairy Maclary goes off for a walk with a few of his friends, who all have fantastic names such as Schnitzel Von Krumm or Bottomley Potts. The walk ends in a bit of a nasty surprise, but I don’t want to give too much away for anyone who hasn’t read it yet. The rhythm and rhyming in this book are spot on, and the repetition makes it easy for kids to join in. My boys love calling out the dog names.
- Gaston, by Kelly DiPucchio (author) & Christian Robinson (illustrator) – Bulldog Gaston and Antoinette the poodle were swapped at birth, with Gaston growing up to be prim and proper, with a love of pink, like his poodle sisters, whilst Antoinette is more brutish and brawny like her bulldog brothers. After a chance meeting in the park, they swap back, but come to realise that they were much happier where they were before. A charming and funny story, that shows it’s okay for boys to be tender and girls to be tough, and ultimately that it’s best for everyone to be whatever they want to be.
- Dogs Don’t Do Ballet, by Anna Kemp (author) & Sara Ogilvie (illustrator) – Biff is not like other dogs. He doesn’t like to pee on lamp posts, scratch for fleas, or chase sticks. That’s because Biff doesn’t think he’s a dog, he sees himself as a ballerina. But dogs don’t do ballet…or do they? A funny and charming story about a little dog with a big personality, and how you should never give up on following your dreams.
- The Great Dog Bottom Swap, by Peter Bently (author) & Mei Matsuoka (illustrator) – I picked this book up in a charity shop just recently, and it’s possibly the best 50p I’ve spent that week! The premise of the story is that the dogs are all attending the Summer Ball, but it’s such a high class event, they need to hang their bottoms up in the cloakroom before they are allowed in. But in the middle of the celebrations, disaster strikes and they need to make a hasty exit, each grabbing a bottom on the way out and inevitably ending up with the wrong ones. And that, my friends, is why dogs unto this day sniff each other’s bottoms when they meet, still trying to find their correct ones! A ridiculously funny book, which quite deservedly was shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize.
- Don’t Call Me Choochie Pooh! by Sean Taylor (author) & Kate Hindley (illustrator) – This is a last minute addition from the library, which we borrowed just a couple days ago, starring a tiny little dog who doesn’t like being fed heart-shaped mini puppy treats, hates being carried around in a handbag, and under no circumstances wants to be called Choochie Pooh! But it’s owner just won’t listen. On a day out to the park, the dog makes friends with some other bigger dogs, and they get along like a house on fire. Finally he gets to chase sticks, jump in muddy puddles, and behave like a normal, proper dog. But how will his new friends react when they hear his owner call out his embarrassing nickname? There’s a lovely twist at the end that had my boys laughing out loud, but I don’t want to spoil it so you’ll just have to read it yourself to find out.
Do you have any other favourite picture books about dogs? Please feel free to share your recommendations in the comments below!
Please note that the book links in this post are Amazon affiliate links. That means if you buy any books via these links, I receive a small percentage – at no extra cost to you! – which helps to keep this blog running. Thank you.