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Friendship and Pets: Books For Kids

Reading about friendship helps us learn how to be a good friend. While friendship can change as we age, it's essence remains the same; friendship is loyalty, fun, communication, support, compassion, and love. Enjoy our list of our favorite books showing the joy, journeys, hardships, and value of friendship! We hope you might even make a few (book) friends along the way.

“Reading for me, is spending time with a friend.” – Gary Pauls

Strictly No Elephants book
#1
Strictly No Elephants
Written by Lisa Mantchev and illustrated by Taeeun Yoo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When the local Pet Club won’t admit a boy’s tiny pet elephant, he finds a solution—one that involves all kinds of unusual animals in this sweet and adorable picture book. 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. Imaginative and lyrical, this sweet story captures the magic of friendship and the joy of having a pet.

Charlotte and the Rock book
#2
Charlotte and the Rock
Written by Stephen W. Martin and illustrated by Samantha Cotterill
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

An unexpected friendship forms between a girl and her pet rock in this charming story that’s perfect for fans of What Pet Should I Get? 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?

Floaty book
#3
Floaty
Written and illustrated by John Himmelman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Blah! Mr. Raisin is a bit of a grump. He lives all alone in a little house, and he likes it that way just fine. One day, a mysterious basket appears on Mr. Raisin’s doorstep. When he opens it up, it seems there’s nothing inside . . . until he notices a floating dog bobbing along his ceiling. What follows is a heartwarming, hilarious tale about embracing the unexpected—and finding friendship that takes you to new heights.

The Rough Patch book
#4
The Rough Patch
Written and illustrated by Brian Lies
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Evan and his dog do everything together. They play and read and eat. But mostly you will find them tending to Evan’s extraordinary garden, where flowers and other good things flourish and reach for the sky. But friends don’t always stay forever, and when Evan loses his, he destroys the place that meant the most to them, and creates something to match his mood. Something ugly and twisted, sad and stubborn, ragged and rough—and he likes it that way. Until one day . . . New York Times–bestselling author Brian Lies has created a breathtakingly beautiful and luminescent book about loss and grief, love and hope, and the healing power of friendship, curiosity, and nature.

Cody Harmon, King of Pets book
#5
Cody Harmon, King of Pets
Written by Claudia Mills and illustrated by Rob Shepperson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Cody Harmon doesn't love reading, math, spelling, or really any of the subjects that Miss Molina teaches in her third-grade class. But he lives on a farm and he loves animals--he even has nine pets--so when the school holds a pet-show fund-raiser, it should be his time to shine. There's a ten-dollar entrance fee per pet, though, and Cody can't pay it for all nine pets. He'd love to take his pig, but what about the others? In the end, Cody figures out a way to lend out his pets so that every person in the class (and every pet) gets to participate in the show.

  1. Animal Inn 3-Books-in-1! - The first three novels in the Animal Inn chapter book series, where the fur—and fun—flies at an animal spa and hotel, are now available together in a fur-tastic paperback edition! The Animal Inn is an all-inclusive pet resort and spa for animals from dogs to rabbits, cats to ducks, parrots to lizards. From doggie and kitty daycare, to grooming, and group play—you name it, and the Animal Inn has it. The Inn is run by the Tyler family along with their pets Leopold, the Macaw; Fuzzy and Furry, the gerbils; dogs Dash and Coco; felines Shadow and Whiskers; and a rollicking horde of animal visitors. In A Furry Fiasco, when the animals hear that a new boarder—a Komodo Dragon—will be coming to the Inn, they panic! Will it gobble them all up and then devour their family? In Treasure Hunt, the animals are convinced a pirate with a glittering treasure is visiting the Animal Inn. Will the animals have to walk the plank in order to survive? Arghhh! And in The Bow-Wow Bus, Cassie Tyler’s first grade class takes a field trip to Animal Inn for a meet and greet. And it’s a furry good time for all—even for the newest kid in class, a goldfish named Blub.

  2. Two Brothers, One Tail - A sweet and charming picture book about the unending love between a boy and his dog. Two brothers, two hands Two brothers, four paws Two brothers, ten fingers Two brother, ten claws With simple rhyming text by Richard T. Morris and charming illustrations from Jay Fleck, Two Brothers, One Tail is a heart-warming story about a boy and his brother, who just happens to be a dog. Perfect for fans of Bad Dog, Marley and Harry the Dirty Dog!

  3. I Hate My Cats (A Love Story) - Ginger is the weird one. She plays with peas, purrs at artichokes, and has a strange fondness for chicken (but only the neighbor's chicken). Then there's Fred. His greatest talent? Sleeping. Oh, and hiding. And when he's not hiding, he's conspiring with Ginger to destroy the house! Such is life with cats. . . can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em—if you love them, that is. And yet the question remains: Why are these captivating creatures so marvelously maddening?! From internationally bestselling author Davide Cali, this humorous picture book about a cat owner and his beguiling felines celebrates quirky cat companions, impurrfections and all.

  4. Anna, Banana, and the Puppy Parade - Anna can’t wait for the Puppy Parade. She’s certain Banana will win. Soon Banana will be famous—and that means Anna will be famous too! But when Sadie and Isabel suggest they all enter Banana in the parade together, Anna starts feeling a little unsure about sharing her dog—and the spotlight—with her friends. How can Anna be Best in Show and be a good best friend?

Simple Art Of Flying book
#10
Simple Art Of Flying
Written and illustrated by Cory Leonardo
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Quirky characters, plucky humor, and a heartwarming message come together in this big-hearted debut novel about friendship and the true meaning of family. Sometimes flying means keeping your feet on the ground… Born in a dismal room in a pet store, Alastair the African grey parrot dreams of escape to bluer skies. He’d like nothing more than to fly away to a palm tree with his beloved sister, Aggie. But when Aggie is purchased by twelve-year-old Fritz, and Alastair is adopted by elderly dance-enthusiast and pie-baker Albertina Plopky, the future looks ready to crash-land. In-between anxiously plucking his feathers, eating a few books, and finding his own poetic voice, Alastair plots his way to a family reunion. But soon he’s forced to choose between the life he’s always dreamed of and admitting the truth: that sometimes, the bravest adventure is in letting go.

Made for Each Other: Why Dogs and People Are Perfect Partners book
#11
Made for Each Other: Why Dogs and People Are Perfect Partners
Written by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent and illustrated by William Munoz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Celebrates the bond between humans and their canine companions, discussing scientific insights that demonstrate how sharing one's life with a dog reduces stress, provides companionship, and increases safety.

The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole book
#12
The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole
Written by Michelle Cuevas
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A girl's friendship with a lonely black hole leads her to face her own sadness in this original, funny, and touching middle grade novel for fans of Crenshaw and Flora & Ulysses. When eleven-year-old Stella Rodriguez shows up at NASA to request that her recording be included in Carl Sagan's Golden Record, something unexpected happens: A black hole follows her home, and sets out to live in her house as a pet. The black hole swallows everything he touches, which is challenging to say the least--but also turns out to be a convenient way to get rid of those items that Stella doesn't want around. Soon the ugly sweaters her aunt has made for her all disappear within the black hole, as does the smelly class hamster she's taking care of, and most important, all the reminders of her dead father that are just too painful to have around. It's not until Stella, her younger brother, Cosmo, the family puppy, and even the bathroom tub all get swallowed up by the black hole that Stella comes to realize she has been letting her own grief consume her. And that's not the only thing she realizes as she attempts to get back home. This is an astonishingly original and funny adventure with a great big heart.

Dragon Quest book
#13
Dragon Quest
Written by Jackie French Koller and illustrated by Judith Mitchell
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Darek and Zantor work together to stop the kidnapping of another baby dragon in this third book in the fantastical Dragonling chapter book series! Now that the villagers have finally accepted Darek’s dragonling, Zantor, they’ve all fallen in love with him. Especially Rowena, the spoiled daughter of the Chief Elder—so much so that she wants the dragonling for her very own. But Darek can’t give him up! He and Zantor are so close that he can almost get inside the little dragon’s mind. So the Chief Elder orders Darek’s father to find another dragonling. Even though a dragon mother will have to die—along with some villagers, too. Darek can’t let that happen. But how can he stop them…unless he joins the dragon quest?

Henry Huggins book
#14
Henry Huggins
Written by Beverly Cleary and illustrated by Louis Darling
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

This special edition of Henry Huggins features the original illustrations by Louis Darling—the first artist to ever render Henry, Ribsy, Ramona, and Beezus—as well as a foreword written by New York Times bestselling author and illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi. In Newbery Medal-winning author Beverly Cleary’s first novel, boys and girls alike will instantly be charmed by an average boy whose life is turned upside-down when he meets a loveable puppy with a nose for mischief. Just as Henry Huggins is complaining that nothing exciting ever happens, a friendly dog sits down beside him and looks pleadingly at his ice-cream cone. From that moment on, the two are inseparable. But when Ribsy’s original owner appears, trying to reclaim his dog, Henry’s faced with the possibility of losing his new best friend. Has Klickitat Street seen the last of rambunctious Ribsy?

  1. Saving Marty - From the award-winning author of "Ten Mile River" and "When Friendship Followed Me Home" comes a warm and heart-wrenching story of the friendship between a boy and a pig that thinks it's a dog.

  2. My Old Pal, Oscar - After a young boy’s beloved pet passes away, he encounters an adorable stray dog on the beach. The boy tries to walk away and ignore the cuddly creature, but the puppy continues to follow him, undeterred. Though the boy is still dealing with the pain of his loss and feels afraid to care about a new pet again, as the two walk the sand together, the boy slowly opens himself up to the joy of having a new dog in his life and making peace with the past. New York Times bestselling Amy Hest and Amy Bates, the beloved team who created The Dog Who Belonged to No One, have created a touching story about new beginnings and how friendship and love have the power to heal.

  3. Maya Papaya and Her Amigos Play Dress-up - Maya Papaya plays dress-up with her pets and toys every season.

  4. Skinny Brown Dog - Benny the baker leads a simple life. He makes delicious cakes, cookies, and muffins, and keeps his customers well fed and happy. When a skinny brown dog shows up on Benny's doorstep, nothing Benny says can convince him to go away. While Benny insists that the dog isn't his, customers soon grow as fond of the skinny brown dog as they are of Benny's yummy treats. The children even name him Brownie—the perfect name for a baker's dog. Benny starts to wonder what it might be like to have a dog of his own. But it's not until Brownie comes to his rescue that Benny realizes a dog can make for a very good friend. Full of winning characters (and delicious treats!) from the award-winning Kimberly Willis Holt, this book celebrates a very special friendship.

The Best Days Are Dog Days book
#19
The Best Days Are Dog Days
Written and illustrated by Aaron Meshon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

From playtime to naptime, a dog and his girl do everything together as they spend the day exploring their neighborhood with the girl's mother and father.

Good Boy book
#20
Good Boy
Written and illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A boy and a dog embark on an out-of-this-world adventure in this whimsical picture book from award-winning author-illustrator Sergio Ruzzier. This is the story of a boy and his dog. Or is it a dog and his boy? Either way, it’s a playful story of friendship and adventure!

Angel in Beijing book
#21
Angel in Beijing
Written and illustrated by Belle Yang
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In a lost-and-found tale that soars far beyond just a happy ending, Taiwanese fine artist Belle Yang pays affectionate homage to the city of Beijing. In busy Beijing, New Year's Eve firecrackers scare a stray white cat into the courtyard of a young girl. The two become fast friends, riding the girl's bike through the city and seeing all kinds of people and things. Trrrring-trrrring! the girl chimes with her bicycle bell. Niaow-niaow! answers Kitty. On the day of the Dragon Boat Festival, the girl and the cat watch the kites soaring above crowded, chaotic Tiananmen Square. Kitty is enthralled by the enormous, colorful dragon kite, and she leaps to catch it as it sails up into the sky -- taking Kitty with it and carrying her out of sight! The girl searches the city, visiting all their favorite spots and ringing her bell along the way, but Kitty is nowhere to be found. Will the two ever be reunited? Or could another unexpected friendship be in store -- for both of them?

Mr. Wishing Went Fishing book
#22
Mr. Wishing Went Fishing
Written by Irma Wilde and illustrated by George Wilde
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Discover a treasure trove of beautifully illustrated books with our new series, G&D Vintage! Featuring books from our Wonder Books line originally published in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, there's something for every reader in these timeless stories accompanied by classic illustrations. Mr. Wishing decides to go fishing for a pet fish and finds Skipper, a perfect companion. But Skipper needs a friend! Mr. Wishing goes on another rowboat jaunt, but all he manages to catch are a starfish and a crab, which are not the ideal fish bowl companions for Skipper. Finally, Mr. Wishing brings home another fish, Flipper, and Skipper is happy as can be!

A Dog Called Bear book
#23
A Dog Called Bear
Written by Diane Fox and illustrated by Christyan Fox, Diane Fox
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A funny picture-book story about finding a perfect dog—and discovering a true friend.Lucy loves dogs. She has always wanted a dog. She's read the books and bought the toys and plastered her walls with dog pictures. She's ready for a dog of her own. When Lucy sets out in search of a canine companion, she meets a frog, a fox, and finally a "lost dog" called Bear. Bear doesn't look like any dog Lucy's seen before, but Lucy decides to give Bear a chance anyway . . . with hilarious results. Love triumphs int his funny story of unexpected friendship.

    Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!