11 Picture Books for Children Who Want Their First Pet | Milestones

In these fun picture books, children can follow along with kids—and animals!—on their quest to obtain a new live-in best friend. These 11 stories range from the first desire for an animal companion to the responsibility of caring for another life. 

In these fun picture books, children can follow along with kids—and animals!—on their quest to obtain a new live-in best friend. These 11 stories range from the first desire for an animal companion to the responsibility of caring for another life. 


Two Girls Want a Puppy by Ryan & Evie Cordell. illus. by Maple Lam. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780062292612. 
PreS-Gr 2–Cadence and her little sister Emi really want a puppy. Luckily, they have a "Brilliant Plan" to convince their skeptical father to get them one. Dad is very impressed... and announces that it is time to adopt a dog. The family visits the shelter, where one puppy stands out. VERDICT Parents should beware, kids might be inspired to try their own skills of persuasion after reading this selection.

Gilbert Goldfish Wants a Pet by Kelly DiPucchio. illus. by Bob Shea. Dial Bks. ISBN 9780803733947.
PreS-Gr 1–At first glance, it would seem that Gilbert Goldfish has it made: castle, treasure chest, and a steady supply of tasty flakes falling from the sky into his bowl. But sadness overwhelms him. Gilbert's deepest desire is to have a pet of his own, to care for and love. VERDICT The well-paced story, with crisp illustrations, will hook readers into rooting for the endearing, bright-eyed swimmer.

I Got a New Friend by Karl Newsom Edwards. illus. by author. Knopf. ISBN 9780399557002. 
PreS-Gr 1–A little girl and a tiny puppy make friends in this sweet picture book about adopting a pet. Though girl and dog are initially a little nervous, they quickly bond. The concise, cheery text, told in first person and presented in a large font, gently explains what to expect when a newcomer joins the household: lots of playtime, a little mess, and plenty of hugs and kisses—in short, a lot of work but just as many rewards. VERDICT A fine addition for medium to larger collections, especially where patrons are seeking materials on welcoming a pet to the family.

[Read: Podcasts About Pets for K–12 Students | Kidcasts]

Billie and Bean in the City by Julia Hansson. Orca. ISBN 9781459834446. 
Gr 1-3–Kids of all ages know the allure of having a pet. And most of them can anticipate the question parents ask before bringing a pet home: “Are you going to take care of it?” In this delightful story, Billie is responsible for her dog Bean while Mom is out doing laundry. VERDICT Youngsters will delight in this tale of responsibility and self-reliance, built with just the right amount of suspense.

Twinkle’s Fairy Pet Day by Katharine Holabird. illus. by Sarah Warburton. S. & S./Little Simon. ISBN 9781534429192. 
PreS-K–When Twinkle and her fairy friends Pippa and Lulu are finally old enough to take care of a pet, Fairy Godmother offers to grant each a pet of her own. Pippa receives a butterfly, Lulu gets a ladybug, and Twinkle finds herself with a dragon, which is not what she had hoped for. Nevertheless, Twinkle prepares her dragon for the upcoming Fairy Pet Day, where the two unlikely companions bring out the best in each other. VERDICT Little fairies will enjoy this vibrant, cheery tale about love and encouragement.


A Dog Wearing Shoes by Sangmi Ko. illus. by author. Random/Schwartz & Wade. ISBN 9780385383967. 
PreS-Gr 1–When Mini and her mother are driving home one day, they come across a lost dog. Though her mother points out that the dog's yellow shoes mean he probably has an owner who misses him, the young girl is determined to keep him. The book ends on a happy note, however, with Mini learning a lesson about responsible pet ownership. VERDICT A lovely, if slightly predictable, pet story.

I Want 100 Dogs by Stacy McAnulty. illus. by Claire Keane. Chronicle. ISBN 9781797214405. 
PreS-Gr 2–A curly-haired preschooler with light skin yearns for 100 dogs, while her practical parents talk her through the many ways dogs must be taken care of to temper her aspirations. VERDICT Recommended for public library collections in need of more humorous dog books and school libraries that could use counting concept books for the youngest students.

Toby by Hazel Mitchell. illus. by author. Candlewick. ISBN 9780763680930. 
PreS-Gr 1–After moving, a boy and his father are looking for just the right dog. When they adopt Toby, the boy has to learn how to be a responsible owner and Toby has to learn how to be a good dog. VERDICT This familiar story with a family cast not often seen in picture books will warm dog-loving hearts.

[Read: First Books about New Siblings]

Me Want Pet! by Tammi Sauer. illus. by Bob Shea. S & S/Paula Wiseman. ISBN 9781442408104. 
PreS-K–Though he lives in a far-removed prehistoric world, Cave Boy suffers from that classic dilemma: the desire for a pet despite parental resistance. The youngster has all of the basics—rocks, sticks, and a club—yet his life is not complete. "'Me sad,' said Cave Boy. 'Want pet.'" VERDICT Beginning with the cover image of a smiling, razor-toothed boy scribbling his own dream-pet illustrations, Sauer and Shea's collaboration will entice readers.

Maverick and Me by Katherine Schwarzenegger. illus. by Phyllis Harris. Worthy. ISBN 9780824956875. 
PreS-Gr 2–An abandoned marble-colored pup finds a new home with Scarlett and her mom at a pet adoption event. The child takes on the responsibilities that come with owning a dog and then invites her friends to a backyard party where they can meet her new puppy, Maverick. VERDICT This duo's story, which is based on a real event, is told with love and compassion. A solid addition to share with prospective pet owners.

I Won a What? by Audrey Vernick. illus. by Robert Neubecker. Knopf. ISBN 9780553509939.
PreS-Gr 2–The tale of a boy who really wants a pet. His parents, he laments, are too practical. They won't let him have anything fluffy, shaggy, or feathery—or, heaven forbid, anything that eats mice. But tonight he'll be allowed to keep what he wins at the carnival goldfish booth. He wins Nuncio, a great blue whale with eager eyes and a perennial smile. VERDICT With a simple text and entertaining illustrations, this is a heartwarming picture book—and what happens on the very last page is downright beautiful.

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