Most kids love the idea of having a pet of their very own. Pets can bring so much joy to a family, but they are also a big responsibility. Sharing children’s books about pets is a great way to get started. Here are some of my favorite pet books for kids. You’ll find books about more traditional pets (dogs, cats, and goldfish), along with some lovable and humorous books about some unexpected pets (sharks, elephants, giraffes, and more).
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Books About Pets
My Pet Wants a Pet
Once there was a boy who wanted something to take care of. Something of his very own. He begged his mother for a puppy. Until she said YES! The boy loved his puppy. He fed him and played with him and cuddled him. But soon, the dog wanted something to take care of―something of his very own. So the dog gets a pet cat; then the cat gets a pet bird; the bird gets a pet worm; the worm gets a pet flea . . . and on and on it goes as utter chaos ensues.
Not Norman: A Goldfish Story
Norman the goldfish isn’t what this little boy had in mind. He wanted a different kind of pet — one that could run and catch, or chase string and climb trees, a soft furry pet to sleep on his bed at night. Definitely not Norman. But when he tries to trade Norman for a “good pet,” things don’t go as he planned. Could it be that Norman is a better pet than he thought?
Katie is an ordinary girl who longs for an extraordinary pet—something more spectacular than a simple goldfish. Then one day Katie comes home to find a gift from her mother: a mysterious machine designed to help her create that one-of-a-kind creature. Each time she feeds different items into the machine, out comes a marvelously colorful new animal—like a purple monkey, rainbow-spotted horse, and green bunny! But none of them is just right. Through trial and error, Katie figures out the formula for her absolutely perfect SURPRISE pet.
Grab a set of free activities to pair with this book here.
How I Trained My Dog in 10 Days
”Does your dog need training?”
- ”It’s easy. But you have to be firm. Dogs always try to take over. Don’t let them. It’s rude to brag, but it only took me 10 days to train my dog Scamp. If I can do it, so can you.”
- And so begins the training of a boy’s new pet dog, Scamp.
- Or — is this actually the training of Scamp’s new boy?
Take Your Pet to School Day
When pets show up with their kids at Maple View Elementary, it’s total chaos! These animals have no respect for school rules, and every class quickly gets out of hand. But why did they show up in the first place? Who said they could come? Could it have been…the pets themselves? It turns out they just wanted in on the fun! Now, if they want to stay, they’ll just have to behave….
The Sloth Who Slowed Us Down
When the speediest family in the world finds a sweet, slow sloth on their doorstep, they take him in. But, little do they know, their new pet has quite a bit to teach them. For Amy’s family, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. Mom rushes through her work. Dad rushes through his chores. Even little Amy rushes through dinner. But Sloth does things slowly. He takes long, leisurely baths with lots and lots of bubbles, plays drawn-out, imaginative games, and eats his food slowly, enjoying one small bite at a time. After a few weeks of caring for their new pet, Amy’s family finds that they actually do have enough time to tell one another stories or go for long walks together after dinner—so long as they stop rushing around so much.
Goldfish on Vacation
H, Little O, and Baby Em are stuck in the city for the summer with only their pet goldfish—Barracuda, Patch, and Fiss—for company. It’s looking like it might be a pretty boring vacation, but one day, something exciting happens. Someone starts fixing up the old fountain down the street—the one Grandpa says horses used to drink from before everyone had cars—and a sign appears: “Calling All Goldfish Looking for a Summer Home.” H, Little O, and Baby Em can’t wait to send their goldfish on vacation, and the fish, well, they seem pretty excited too.
One Word From Sophia
Sophia has one true desire for her birthday. But she has Four Big Problems in the way: Mom, Dad, Uncle Conrad…and Grand-mama. Will her presentations, proposals, and pie charts convince them otherwise? Turns out, all it takes is one word. Be sure to check out the sequel, Two Problems for Sophia.
Strictly No Elephants
Today is Pet Club day. There will be cats and dogs and fish, but strictly no elephants are allowed. The Pet Club doesn’t understand that pets come in all shapes and sizes, just like friends. Now it is time for a boy and his tiny pet elephant to show them what it means to be a true friend.
The only thing Bobby wants for his birthday is a pet shark. So you can imagine his disappointment when his parents get him…a puppy. Everyone knows shark lovers can never become dog lovers. Or can they?
Come one, come all, to the pet show! With dogs and cats, horses and chickens, hamsters and chinchillas—and many, many more!—this book celebrates animal companions of all shapes and sizes. Who will take home the coveted Best in Show ribbon?
Not That Pet!
Mabel’s family is letting her pick what kind of pet to get, and she is determined to find the very BEST one. “Any pet you like delivered to your door,” promises the sign. But what if the ants are too tiny, the hyenas too giggly, the owl too loud? What if the snake almost strangles Granddad and the skunk wants to spray the baby? None of the pets she tries out seems like the right fit.
Can I Be Your Dog?
This picture book shares the tale of Arfy, a homeless mutt who lives in a box in an alley. Arfy writes to every person on Butternut Street about what a great pet he’d make. His letters to prospective owners share that he’s house broken! He has his own squeaky bone! He can learn to live with cats! But, no one wants him. Won’t anyone open their heart–and home–to a lonesome dog? Readers will be happily surprised to learn just who steps up to adopt Arfy.
Is This Your Class Pet?
Arfy is a reading buddy, visiting schools and helping kids who are learning to read. One day, upon arriving home, Arfy notices a stowaway in his vest pocket–a turtle! Arfy must write letters to each of the teachers–and even the principal!–to find the classroom whose terrarium is missing this little terrapin. Can Arfy get this little lady back to her rightful class?
Madeline Finn and the Shelter Dog
Ever since Madeline Finn met Mrs. Dimple’s Bonnie, the library dog, she has asked her mother for a puppy of her own every single day. Finally, Mom says yes, and Madeline Finn chooses Star, one of the puppies born to Bonnie.
Then Mrs. Dimple tells Madeline Finn about animal shelters―a place many other pets come from. After a visit to their local shelter, Madeline Finn has some questions. Does anyone play with the shelter dogs, or snuggle with them, or read to them? Questions lead to answers, and ideas, and soon Madeline Finn and her human and animal community discover there are lots of ways for small people to make a big difference. Be sure to also check out Madeline Finn and the Library Dog and Madeline Finn and the Therapy Dog.
The Invisible Leash
“When our pets aren’t with us anymore, an Invisible Leash connects our hearts to each other. Forever.” That’s what Zack’s friend Emily tells him after his dog dies. Zack doesn’t believe it. He only believes in what he can see. But on an enlightening journey through their neighborhood—and through his grief—he comes to feel the comforting tug of the Invisible Leash. And it feels like love.
The Perfect Pet
Elizabeth really wants a pet. She’d like a horse, a dog, a cat, or even a turtle. But her parents do not want a pet. Instead they give her a cactus. Even though Elizabeth’s new plant proves to be a good listener, Elizabeth still really wants a pet.
While Elizabeth campaigns to find the right pet, her family imagines some hair-raising possibilities, until Doug comes along. Doug is, without a doubt, the most unusual, perfect pet of all. Doug is a bug! He’s not big like a horse or loud like a dog. He doesn’t scratch, or shed, or jump on furniture. And he hardly eats a thing.
I Wanna Iguana
Alex just has to convince his mom to let him have an iguana, so he puts his arguments in writing. He promises that she won’t have to feed it or clean its cage or even see it if she doesn’t want to. Of course Mom imagines life with a six-foot-long iguana eating them out of house and home. This book will have kids in hysterics as the negotiations go back and forth through notes.
I Want a Dog: My Opinion Essay
When cousins Dennis and Mellie decide to get a dog, they consider carefully what breed would be best for each family. For example, Dennis wants a big dog, but Mellie wants tiny. He has no other pets, but she has other pets that a dog must get along with. They consider different dog personalities, family situations, and personal preferences. Dennis writes an opinion essay for his teacher, Mrs. Shirky. But will his essay convince his parents to get the dog of his dreams?
You Don’t Want a Unicorn
When a little boy throws a coin in a well asking for a pet unicorn, he has no idea what kind of trouble he’s in for. Unbeknownst to him, unicorns make the absolutely worst pets: they shed, they poke holes in your ceiling, and they make a big mess. This story shares all of the ways a pet unicorn can ruin your life, and is sure to have readers in stitches.
Charlotte and the Rock
Charlotte has always really wanted a pet, so when her parents present her with one for her birthday she expects a cat, dog, or maybe a bird. Instead, she receives a rock. Rocks can’t cuddle, fetch, or even help her eat her vegetables, but that doesn’t stop Charlotte from loving her rock as if he were real. If only he could love her back…or can he?
My Favorite Pets
Things to know about sheep:
Sheep live outside.
They have wool.
Sheep will not learn to ride a skateboard.
They will not climb a tree.
Sheep will come into the house…but this will get you into trouble.
Seventeen sheep plus one Gus means that life is never dull on the farm!
A Piglet Named Mercy
Mr. Watson and Mrs. Watson live ordinary lives. Sometimes their lives feel a bit too ordinary. Sometimes they wish something different would happen. And one day it does, when someone unpredictable finds her way to their front door. In this story, a tiny piglet brings love (and chaos) to Deckawoo Drive — and the Watsons’ lives will never be the same. You can find all of my Mercy Watson chapter book companions here. I also have this Mercy Watson craft pack.
Gilbert Goldfish Wants a Pet
Gilbert has almost everything his fishy heart could desire: a castle, a chest filled with treasure, and food that falls from the sky. But there’s one BIG thing missing from his life: a pet. And so begins Gilbert’s harrowing search for the perfect fishbowl companion – a search filled with loud barking, quiet buzzing, and one giant whiskered surprise!
How can you enter a pet show when your pet runs away? That’s the question Archie faces when he can’t find his cat to enter in the neighborhood pet show. Fortunately, he does some fast thinking to win a prize.
Nia loves Alfie, her pet turtle. But he’s not very soft, he doesn’t do tricks, and he’s pretty quiet. Sometimes she forgets he’s even there. That is, until the night before her seventh birthday, when… Alfie disappears!
Where did he go? And why? Nia can’t say… but Alfie can. This is his story.
Truman the tortoise lives with his Sarah, high above the taxis and the trash trucks and the number eleven bus, which travels south. He never worries about the world below…until one day, when Sarah straps on a big backpack and does something Truman has never seen before. She boards the bus!
Truman waits for her to return.
He waits, and waits, and waits.
And when he can wait no longer, he knows what he must do.
Even if it seems…impossible!
The Fintastic Fishsitter
When Sami agrees to zombie-sit Frankie, her neighbor’s BIG FAT ZOMBIE GOLDFISH, she is looking forward to fun afternoon in the paddling pool with her favorite “swishy fishy.” Unfortunately, Fang, the mostly-evil vampire kitten, has a different idea. She’s looking forward to a BIG FAT ZOMBIE GOLDFISH snack!
Will Sami and Frankie be able to stop Fang’s evil plan?
Who Wants a Tortoise?
When the spunky, loveable narrator receives a tortoise for her birthday, instead of the cuddly puppy she’s longed for her entire life, she’s more than a little disappointed. But while her new lump of a pet isn’t what she dreamed of, it doesn’t take long–between tortoise-on-skateboard walks, sparkly shell makeovers, and a lemonade stand selling chances to hold a real life tortoise–for the little girl to change her mind–sort of. But when her pet goes missing, all she wants is to be reunited with her new best friend.
Sparky stars a pet who has more to offer than meets the eye. When our narrator orders a sloth through the mail, the creature that arrives isn’t good at tricks or hide-and-seek . . . or much of anything. Still, there’s something about Sparky that is irresistible.
Children Make Terrible Pets
When Lucy, a young bear, discovers a boy in the woods, she’s absolutely delighted. She brings him home and begs her mom to let her keep him, even though her mom warns, “Children make terrible pets.” But mom relents, and Lucy gets to name her new pet Squeaker.
Through a series of hilarious and surprising scenes, readers can join Lucy and Squeaker on their day of fun and decide for themselves whether or not children really do make terrible pets.
This is the story of four puppies: Fi-Fi, Foo-Foo, Ooh-La-La, and Gaston. Gaston works the hardest at his lessons on how to be a proper pooch. He sips—never slobbers! He yips—never yaps! And he walks with grace—never races! Gaston fits right in with his poodle sisters. But a chance encounter with a bulldog family in the park—Rocky, Ricky, Bruno, and Antoinette—reveals there’s been a mix-up, and so Gaston and Antoinette switch places. The new families look right…but they don’t feel right. Can these puppies follow their noses—and their hearts—to find where they belong? Be sure to check out Antoinette, the second book in this series.
Raja’s Pet Camel
Raja had always wanted to have a pet like the happy kids in his school books did. But most yard animals in India worked. They weren’t for play. Never-the-less, when Raja stumbled upon a scared, baby camel, he took him home and made him his own pet.
But it wasn’t long before there were smashed pots! Broken fences! And a big mess everywhere! Kamal was a wild camel with wild ways! Raja’s father was not pleased. “We don’t have time for camels. We’re too busy herding goats,” he warned.
Raja loved his new pet but his father is fed up with the mess and determined to sell him at the next fair. Will Raja find a way to keep Kamal or will they lose each other forever?
Hope the Dog
Hope is unlike the regular dogs. She’s special, quite quirky, like a teacher with paws. She runs in the rain and slurps down soufflés. Hope even teaches her owner how to sit and to stay! But one day, the dog goes missing. Is Hope lost forever?
The Class Pet from the Black Lagoon
Mrs. Green tells her students that they’re going to have a class pet! Hubie’s imagination goes wild. Will the new class pet have fangs, horns, or headlights? Will it be vicious? Who knows what kind of monster Mrs. Green will bring in? Hubie’s worst fears are nearly realized, when Mrs. Green brings in a big cage. What could be inside? You can find all of my Black Lagoon chapter book companions here.
The Pigeon Wants a Puppy
He really, really, REALLY wants one. He’ll take really good care of it! What’s the matter–don’t you want him to be happy?
Do you have a favorite children’s book about pets that didn’t make the list? Let me know so I can check it out!