It seems that people are either dog people or cat people... and I am a dog person. I love how earnest they are, how happy they always are to see you, and come on, it’s just fun to walk a dog. I read dog mysteries all of the time, but I also like a tale (tail) told from the dog’s point of view. Here are a few of my favorites.
written and illustrated by Mark Teague
Ike, a chicken-pie-eating, cat-chasing pooch has been sent to obedience school by his owner Mrs. LaRue. Ike pens letter after letter to his human in his quest to gain his freedom from his version of doggie jail. This book is clever, charming and fun. The illustrations are great and will appeal to the kid (and dog-lover) in all of us.
by Spencer Quinn
This winning debut mystery features Chet, a failed canine school attendee with a pedigree only know to his mother, and Bernie, his human who is a private detective. The mystery is narrated by Chet. A wealthy woman hires Bernie to find her missing daughter. These two are an entertaining, clever team and I can’t wait to see what they get up to in future outings.
by Peter Mayle, illustrated by Edward Koren
A touching, humorous story told by Boy, a shaggy but intelligent dog, about his life: his birth, his 12 siblings, his not-very-nice owner, and his wanderings through the French countryside until he is taken in by author Peter Mayle. What a lucky pup indeed!
by Henrietta Branford
This is children’s literature at its best. Set in feudal England, this story is told by an aging hunting dog. The author’s poetic writing weaves a tale that tells of a time when the common person was powerless — as our canine narrator finds out when her kindly humans, Rufus and his wife Comfort, are taken away by soldiers from their modest home because they attended revolutionary rallies which lead to the Peasant’s Revolt. What follows is an exciting tale of a canine and her clan doing everything they can to right justice. This book won the Guardian Fiction Prize in 1998. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It’s wonderful.
by Matt Ruff
A tour-de-force that combines magic, myth and comedy set on the campus of Cornell University. The plot pits social misfits against frat guys (a classic tale of good versus evil). S. T. George, the main character, is an aspiring writer looking for a story to tell, love and dragons to slay. This fantasy has everything: poisoned apples, winged creatures and talking dogs and cats. This book has become something of a cult classic.
by Laurie Myers, illustrated by Michael Dooling
Seaman, Meriwether Lewis’ Newfoundland dog, serves as the narrator of this fictionalized account of Lewis and Clark’s journey (1803-1806). This is a wonderful book to teach children about Lewis and Clark, and I bet there are some adults out there that might learn a few things about these two explorers as well. The illustrations are extremely vivid and lend much to the story.
by Bill Wallace
Chuck is a cat who has a fairly normal life until his human Katie goes away to college, and his alley-cat friend Louie is hit by a car and killed. Chuck becomes very lonely until he makes friends with a Rottweiler named Tom, who has been given the misnomer Rotten Willy. Nice story about friendship that will warm your heart.
Recommending books so good, they'll keep you up past your bedtime. more...
About Leah Smith
Leah lives near Washington D.C. and is an obsessive list maker. She loves lists so much that she creates topical bibliographies -- for fun. She also collects volvelles, nutcrackers, unusual names and map hankies. She talks about books and many other things on her blog, Fig Newtons and Scotch.
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