Friday, December 4, 2009

Gifts for People Who Have Pets...or Want Pets...or are Pets!

Karen Beaumont and David Catrow, the perfect combination for a goofy picture book. Every dog owner can identify with the early morning wake-ups, and trying to control a group of exhuberant puppies of all shapes and sizes. Snuggle up with your little one on your lap and take time to look over all the silly details in Catrow's illustrations - the facial expressions alone are priceless!

We know, a wombat makes a lousy pet, but after reading these and French's nonfiction follow-up, we WANT one! We also think Freaky might be one...obstinate, likes to burrow, wants to be fed but then left there such thing as a hairless water wombat?

Anyone who has ever owned a dog will recognize it in one or more of these short poems. A marketing hint to Harper Collins: we would love to see individual prints made of these! Although this is a picture book suitable for any age, we have also given it as a gift to adults who love their pooches with personalities.

One of our favorite read-alouds, and another book filled with David Catrow's quirky illustrations. A young boy who desperately wants a pet iguana exchanges notes with his skeptical mother. Our favorite exchange is when he tells her the iguana could be the little brother he always wanted, and she reminds him, "You HAVE a brother." Seriously, when you were younger, wouldn't you have exchanged your sibling for just about any type of pet? Bite your tongue if you still want that option, it's the holiday season.

One of our absolute all-time favorites, and a great introduction to his whole Magic Shop series. Suitable for 4th or 5th grade readers, or as a family read-aloud. Check local rock shops for one of those polished, egg-shaped stones to make it extra special.

Really, anything by Jean Craighead George should satisfy the animal lover on your list. This is one of several books in which George relates true stories about the animals, wild and domestic, with whom she has shared her life (and shower. And purse. And...)

The bunny in question is never a pet, but rather the catalyst for a young girl and the grown-ups around her to find their way out of the rather rigid boxes they have found themselves in. Give this one to the quiet loner on your list who has memorized all the books in The Chronicles of Narnia.

Just about everyone, young and old, is familiar with the name of Dr. Dolittle and the concept of talking to animals. Unfortunately, for most the name is associated with the movie, which (apologies to Mr. Murphy), was absolute rubbish. Also unfortunately, you can't get new copies of most of this series anymore, and will have to purchase most of them from secondhand sources. We think that makes them more of a treasure, though. Perhaps if we get a new generation hooked on the series, publishers will take note and start reprinting!

There are tons of great books out there for animal lovers, and we have only scratched the surface. We would love to hear your suggestions (because hey, we have gifts to buy, too!)


  1. Ahem. Doggone Dogs is actually by Karen Beaumont, not Lauren Child (whom I think always does her own illustration?). Oh, yes I hate it that the original Dolittle's (with Lofting's illustrations) are out of print. So sad, those are classics.

  2. You are quite right, and we had it right there on the link. Our excuse is the ^%$&^* internet today, which lost the entire post when we went to save it, and we had to redo everything in a hurry. School was out, and we think everyone spent the day on their computers, slowing it all down to mud. Now we have to figure out why Lauren Child was stuck in our pet books by her are coming to mind...

  3. Aha! The one about being a poodle - which is the whole reason we put "or are pets" as part of the title. Sigh.

  4. Wombats are cute, but I don't know much about them (especially as pets). I think that book would be a fun one to read with my kid.

  5. Thanks for the great post! It's always nice when someone features your book in their blog!

    I have tons of "pet books" out! You can see them at

    David Catrow

  6. Okay, David, we have to know: when were you stalking our house, and how did we not see you, when you were illustrating Doggone Dogs? That big brown dopey thing is so obviously our great dane mix, and there can't possibly be that many little short fat dogs that look (and act) just like ours!