At some point in our lives, we’ve all wanted a pet. Whether it was a traditional dog or cat, the idea that a creature would love us unconditionally was just too exciting to miss. And that’s why I created this HUGE list of books about pets for kids!
But as we know, having a pet is a big responsibility. And this truth becomes glaringly obvious when unusual pets are brought into the family fold.
Your little learners will adore these picture books and each of them provides an opportunity to teach a great lesson on responsibility, decision-making, and consequences (good and bad) of our choices.
So grab a comfy blanket and read every single one of the books on this book list. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.
Elizabeth, like every child, really wants a pet. She has considered a dog, a cat, and a horse. But her parents give her…a cactus. While she loves her plant, she still wants a pet desperately. It isn’t until Doug comes along that Elizabeth realizes he is truly the perfect pet. But what kind of pet is Doug? In this entertaining story by Margie Palatini, young children will learn that even really small pets can be truly perfect!
Lola really wants a cat, but her mommy tells her that taking care of a pet is hard work! So Lola learns everything she can about being a good caretaker. She even practices all of her newly-learned skills on her stuffed kitten.
When the time comes for Lola to pick a good pet, she and Mommy go to the local animal shelter and find the perfect one. In this delightful book by Anna McQuinn, kids will learn about the amount of work it takes to care for a pet.
When Alex decides he wants an iguana as his pet, he has the difficult task of convincing his mother that iguanas are ideal pets for young boys. So he decides to write her a letter and thoroughly explain why this is a good option for her (and him). Mom kindly responds back to him and thus begins a back and forth conversation that will have listeners enthralled throughout the story.
There are so many interesting and unusual pets…especially from the mind of Dr. Seuss. In this book, young readers will see traditional pets like dogs, cats, fish, and birds, but they will also see some of the silliest pets ever!
This is a great book to talk about all the different kinds of pets kids might see in a pet store. It is also an excellent way to discuss how overwhelming it can feel to choose the perfect family pet when there are so many options surrounding you.
Arthur wants a dog and he has decided that the best way to show Mom and Dad he is ready for his own pet is by opening a petsitting business. It doesn’t take long for Arthur to discover that caring for a boa constrictor, an ant farm, a group of frogs, a dog, and a bird…is a LOT of work! Will Mom and Dad still let him have a dog of his own? Follow along as Marc Brown’s beloved children’s character, Arthur, learns an important lesson about caring for animals.
That groovy cat by James Dean is back for another adventure! This time, Pete, is ready to get a pet, and he decides on a goldfish, which he names “Goldie.” After making an awesome painting of Goldie, all of his friends want paintings, too. But he quickly discovers he won’t have time to design all of the paintings and also complete his homework. Find out how Pete solves his dilemma in this fun book the whole family will enjoy! With simple text and adorable illustrations your young readers will reach for this book again and again.
Arfy is a homeless dog living in a box. He wants nothing more than to find a forever home with a family who will love him. In fact, he desires this so badly that he writes letters to everyone on Butternut Street. He has his own squeaky toys, he is house broken, and he can even live with cats! Animal lovers everywhere will applaud when an unusual individual steps up to adopt Arfy. You will definitely want to add this masterpiece to your collection of books about pets for kids.
It is the night before the family is going to adopt a new puppy and everyone is so excited to shower the puppy with lots of unconditional love. They have gathered all of the essential things they will need including food, dog treats, and a crate for him to sleep in. So when they arrive at the shelter to pick out the perfect pet, they see so many different kinds of dogs and find the decision to be difficult. But they finally make a choice…only it is twice as exciting as they thought it would be!!
9. My Tiny Pet
Living in a huge white house in the city is nice because it means you can have lots of pets like poodles, cats, a snake, a tarantula, hedgehogs, mice, birds, fish, an octopus, rabbits, a pony, a pig, and turtles. But what happens when your parents declare that you are moving into a tiny house in the woods? Well, that is exactly what the young girl in this story finds out!
There are many ways to make a wish from seeing a shooting star to throwing a coin in a wishing well. And the little boy in this story finds that out very quickly after being granted his wish of having a unicorn as a pet. In fact, he realizes a unicorn doesn’t make a great pet for ANYONE! Their horns poke holes in everything (even the ceiling), they shed like crazy, and they are quite messy. Written by Ame Dyckman, this hysterical story will have every pet owner and soon-to-be pet owner laughing out loud.
The sequel to You Don’t Want a Unicorn finds the same little boy wishing for a different pet. But the real question is…has he learned his lesson about wishing for tricky pets? Unfortunately, not because this time he wishes for a pet dragon. Between the scooting, the digging, and the breathing fire, he discovers that the idea of pets isn’t always the same as having these pets in real life. Find out if he finds an ideal pet that will be his perfect match, or if he strikes out again.
In this charming story by Eric Carle, a young boy is worried about his pet cat, so he travels all around searching for his lost feline friend. He finds many alternative members of the cat family including more than one wild animal!
From lions to leopards and tigers, this fun story is sure to delight. With simple text and repetition, younger children will have so much fun reading to their older siblings and parents. And that’s why it’s included in our list of the best books about pets for kids.
Some people say that if you wish on a shooting star, your wish will come true. And that’s exactly what happens in this hilarious story by Sarina Siebenaler. When a little girl wishes for an ostrich as a pet, her wish comes true. Unfortunately she quickly discovers that an ostrich isn’t necessarily the type of pet that young people should ask for. Join the main character and her pet ostrich as they embark on a feathered frenzy of chaos and endure one crazy adventure after another.
When the little boy in this story dreamed of the perfect pet, he considered ones that could climb trees, chase strings, and curl up at the bottom of his bed. So when Norman, the goldfish, is presented to him, he quickly decides he needs to trade Norman in on a better pet. Because let’s be honest, a fish is no one’s first choice of pet. In this funny book by Kelly Bennett, young kids will learn right along with the main character that sometimes the best things are right in front of you!
Pigeon wants a pet really, really badly. But can the Pigeon actually take care of a pet the right way? He thinks so, but maybe a traditional pet isn’t the right animal for him. Perhaps something like a walrus would be more appropriate. In another hilariously simple story, Mo Willems captivates the spirit of the zany and excitable Pigeon. But let me warn you, once you read one Pigeon book to your kids, they will want you to read them all! So go ahead and check out several different Pigeon stories from your local library.
In this sweet story, we get an inside look at how toddlers respond when their “perfect dog” doesn’t listen to directions! From leaping into the air and rolling in the mud to jumping out of the bath and shaking water on everything and everyone. But can the little boy and girl get him under control? Written by Spike Lee, and wife, Tonya Lewis Lee and illustrated by Coretta Scott King award winner Kadir Nelson, this book is bound to be one of your favorite books about pets for kids.
17. Pet Show!
Author-illustrator Ezra Jack Keats, most well-known for his classic book The Snowy Day, returns with another fascinating story! When Archie learns about the neighborhood pet show, he can’t wait to enter his pet cat. Unfortunately, it’s really hard to enter your pet…when you can’t find it. It isn’t until the last minute (and the absolute perfect time) that Archie has a great idea. Discover what Archie brings to the show and whether or not he wins a ribbon.
18. Some Pets
When a little girl decides to participate a pet show, she is surprised at the uniqueness of every animal. From dogs and cats to horses, hamsters, chickens, and chinchillas, they all are so special. Some sit, some fetch, some stay, and the list goes on. But who will take home the “Best in Show” award? Written by Angela DiTerrlizzi and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel, this beautiful book will captivate the hearts of your learners. And it will be the perfect addition to your home library or classroom collection.
Gracie has always been an excellent dog who is part of the family. But one day, some noisy painters arrive and Gracie just won’t stop barking! So her owners put her outside…and she decides to take a stroll through the neighborhood. But why are the painters, the neighbors, and even the garbage man following after her on her jaunt? In this classic Cynthia Rylant tale, readers will have a blast watching Gracie get chased all over town!
Abigail is convinced she can find the perfect pet. She doesn’t take in a stray cat, a bunch of big dogs, or even guinea pigs. She chooses the most unlikely pet…a tree, she names Fido. You see, Fido provides shade, doesn’t run away, and even gives her air to breathe! But not everyone thinks a tree is a great pet especially when Fido begins growing. An engaging story by Paul Czajak that is perfect for our list of pet books, but also ideal to use for Earth Day!
If you want an entertaining book about an extremely unconventional pet, then this is the one you need! Charlotte is a little girl who REALLY wants a pet, and she is so excited when her parents give her a pet for her birthday. Unfortunately, they don’t give her a cat or a dog…they give her a rock. Rocks can’t cuddle, play fetch, or do much of anything, but that doesn’t deter Charlotte because she loves her rock. Then one day, the rock cracks and she gets the surprise of a lifetime!
Pet club day is the best! Everyone gets to bring their pets including dogs, cats, and fish. But there is one rule..strictly no elephants. It doesn’t matter that the little boy’s best friend is a TINY elephant because no elephants are allowed. They don’t seem to understand that just like people, pets are all unique and special. So he devises a plan for how he can show everyone in the Pet Club what it means to be a true friend. This beautiful book is a great way to help kids understand the importance of inclusion.
This delightful story with a unique pet theme will win the hearts of animal lovers everywhere. When the main character orders a sloth in the mail, she doesn’t really know what to expect. She has done her research and knows all about sloths, but this particular one doesn’t really do much. It isn’t until she changes her perspective that her appreciation for this unique animal flourishes. The whimsical illustrations and sweet text will have you and your listeners entranced from the first page!
While many dogs have a multitude of black spots, the dog in this story only has one black spot on his ear. But after an unusually busy day of running, rolling, and jumping, Dog is covered in colors! A hilariously silly story about a very energetic dog who has a propensity for finding jam, paint, ice cream, and more while traveling around the neighborhood. Emma Dodd’s vibrant and colorful masterpiece is sure to delight even the most hesitant readers. And that’s why it’s included in our list of books about pets for kids.
This engaging non-fiction text from National Geographic Kids brings all sorts of traditional pets (and a few non-traditional options) to life! Kids will discover what makes an animal a good pet and what makes an animal unsuitable as a pet. With over 200 breathtaking images, kids will love seeing everything from a tiny hermit crab to a huge horse and learning about animals with scales, fur, fins, feathers, and shells.
While there are many books about pets for kids on the market, these are some of the absolute BEST titles you will want to check out from your local library or purchase to add to your personal collection.
These high-quality books will be ones your kids love (and ones you don’t mind reading over and over again.)