I decided to do a dog-themed storytime this week. For once I was faced with the problem of having too many great books to choose from! The kids loved the four I read, and they all got checked out at the end, but there were so many others I didn’t get to:
How Much is That Doggie in the Window? by Iza Trapani (based on the song by Bob Merrill)
This is my daughter’s current favorite book, and one of my all time favorite read-alouds. Parents often ask me if it’s the full version of the original song (which actually hit #1 on the Billboard charts in 1953). It’s not. The original song is about a woman leaving on a trip to California, who wants to buy a dog to protect her sweetheart from burglars. The version in this book is by Iza Trapani (author/illustrator of the classic, The Itsy Bitsy Spider). It’s about a little boy who hopes to raise $60 to buy the adorable puppy in the pet shop window, but ends up spending all his money to help his family. The illustrations are adorable, and I still get choked up at the happy ending. This one is always a hit. Tonight it got snatched up immediately!
Dog Breath by Dav Pilkey
Poor Hally Tosis, a cute, friendly dog with horrible breath. When Mr. and Mrs. Tosis decide to find her a new home, their kids try everything they can think of to solve her bad breath problem. Nothing works, until two burglars creep into the house one night. Can Hally save the day, along with her place in the family? Filled with groan-worthy puns, and lots of visual jokes, this one appeals to both kids and adults. It was quickly claimed by one of the kids as well.
The Doghouse by Jan Thomas
Jan Thomas is a master of storytime read-alouds, always finding some way to interact with the audience. In this one, several animal friends lose a ball IN THE DOGHOUSE!! One by one, they venture inside to get it…but never come out! The story is short, suspenseful, and funny, and the kids loved joining in on the phrase “IN THE DOGHOUSE!”
Dog Blue by Polly Dunbar
Bertie has always wanted a dog. A blue dog. He wants one so badly that he often pretends to be a dog himself. But then a real dog shows up: a perfect, beautiful, spotted dog who needs an owner. But the new dog isn’t blue at all. This is a sweet, funny story with Polly Dunbar’s characteristic quirky surprises. (I also love her book Penguin).
SONGS: I did B-I-N-G-O with a dog hand puppet, who licked all the kids faces. We barked the missing letters instead of clapping them.
CRAFT: Envelope Dog Puppets
I found this craft on the Twiggle Magazine web site, and was very happy because the instructions included a template you could print out for the ears, eyes, and nose. Basically you fold a business-sized envelope in half down the middle, then cut it along the fold (I found it worked better if I sealed the envelope first). Then you tape the inner halves of the cut envelope together (on the side where the seal is), so that you can slide your hand into the outer part of the envelope to make a puppet. I cut out the ears, eyes, and noses ahead of time, and the kids glued them on, along with some wiggle eyes. I gave them crayons to add spots and other decorations. It’s always fun to see how differently everyone’s craft comes out.
Katie Loves the Kittens by John Himmelman
I wish I could have gotten hold of this one in time. When Sarah Ann brings home three adorable kittens, her dog Katie loves them so much she can’t help but howl, scaring the kittens and upsetting her owner. The illustrations in this book are priceless, and the howling makes it so much fun to read.
Harry, the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion and Margaret Bloy Graham
This one of my childhood favorites, about a dog who gets so dirty, his family no longer recognizes him. I read it often at storytime.
Angus and the Ducks by Marjorie Flack
I remember my grandmother reading this to me, and I still have the copy she gave to me on my birthday when I was 3. Angus is a curious Scottish Terrier who wonders about a strange noise he hears on the other side of the hedge, until one day he gets the rare opportunity to explore. The illustrations are wonderful, and I’ve always loved the way Flack uses sound effects, capital letters, and pacing. Great storytelling.
Bertie Was a Watch Dog by Rick Walton and Arthur Robins
One of many, many dog books about pets thwarting burglars, but this one is a lot of fun. Bertie is a Watch Dog, but not because he is big, or mean, or scary. It is because he is the size of a watch. But of course, he still finds a way to save the day when a nasty burglar comes to call. I can never read this book as well as my boss, Thom, who portrays the burglar with an hilarious heavy Cockney accent. But I still love it as a read-aloud because the kids get to join in on all the barking.
Chewy Louie by Howie Schneider
Love this one, and not just because my own black lab ate not only the siding of our house, but also my 11th grade teacher’s copy of The Epic of Gilgamesh with all of her teaching notes inside. As a puppy, Louie eats everything: sticks, toy trains, his dog dish. His family hires several trainers, but nothing seems to work, and they fear they’ll have to give Louie away. Of course, it all works out in the end. The wry sense of humor is what makes this book, but the illustrations are hilarious too.
The Hallowiener by Dav Pilkey
Recommended by Thom Ball, branch manager of the Pacifica Libraries. I wish I had remembered this one, since it is also perfect for Halloween. Oscar the dachshund has enough problems with being called “Wiener Dog!” by the other dogs, and then his mother expects him to spend Halloween night dressed as…a hot dog. Filled with Pilkey’s characteristic puns and visual humor, this is one of my favorite October read-alouds.
Walter the Farting Dog: Trouble at the Yard Sale by William Kotzwinkle
Recommended by local Mom Ria Tajbl. When Walter ruins the family yard sale by driving away all the customers, his owner sells him for $10 to a clown with a secret plan to use Walter’s gas to inflate noxious balloons he plans to use to help him stun guards so he can rob banks. Gotta love Walter! Ria also recommended the classic easy reader Go, Dog, Go! by P.D. Eastman.
Stanley’s Party by Linda Bailey
Recommended by school media specialist Linda Anderson. When Stanley the dog discovers that he can get away with lying on the forbidden couch while his people are out, he wonders what other liberties he can take. Soon he is throwing a wild party with all the dogs in town!
Old Mother Hubbard by Jane Cabrera
Recommended by Christina Olson, who says it was one her kids read to pieces. Funny extended version of the classic nursery rhyme with bright, whimsical illustrations.
Carl’s Afternoon in the Park by Alexandra Day
Recommended by Tanya Scoville. The Carl books are sweet, beautifully-illustrated, mostly wordless adventures about a baby and a kind Rottweiler. In this one they spend the day in the park together, riding on a carousel and going to a zoo.
No Roses for Harry by Gene Zion and Margaret Bloy Graham
Recommended by Barbara Beyer. In this sequel to Harry, the Dirty Dog, Harry tries desperately to get rid of his new present from Grandma: a sweater with big roses all over it.
What are your favorite picture books about dogs?