BOOK SHELF // Animals We Love

Animals captivate and bond to us in ways nothing else can. these books run the gamut of sweet to loyal to ... stinky.

Shep: Our Most Loyal Dog 

by Sneed B. Collard III

$16.95, ages 6–10

This bittersweet testament to the bond between humans and dogs is particularly remarkable because it actually happened. Shep was a real sheepdog born into the Montana countryside in the late 1920s, where he rounded up sheep until his owner passed away. The dog watched as the man’s body was shipped away on a train, and then waited faithfully for train after train for his master’s return … for the next five years. Few readers of any age will be able to resist this simply told, quietly illustrated tale — and none should want to.  



Panda Kindergarten

by Joanne Ryder

$17.99, ages 4–8 

Who can resist pictures of adorable baby panda bears? This book is chock-full of “aww” moments as it follows 16 young panda cubs through their lives at the Wolong Nature Preserve. Readers accompany the cubs on their kindergarten adventures — swinging, climbing, playing … and napping. Animal lovers of any age will be captivated by this winning combination of simple information and delightful photographs. .  



Harry & Hopper

by Margaret Wild

$16.99, ages 2–5    

Keep some tissues handy for a reading of this poignant story about losing a beloved pet. Harry does everything with his dog, Hopper — until one day he comes home from school to find that Hopper has passed away. Yet Harry continues to see his best friend around, jumpy and mischievous as always, until he’s truly ready to say goodbye. Tender illustrations add delicacy to this brave life lesson about love and letting go.



A Pet for Petunia

by Paul Schmid

$12.99, ages 3–7

Meet precocious little Petunia, who wants, wants, wants, more than anything in the world, a real pet skunk. And nothing will stop her from getting one … except, perhaps, an awful, horrible, humungous stink. Petunia’s quest for the perfect pet echoes the pleas of animal-loving children everywhere and it’s strewn with adorable illustrations and laugh-out-loud moments to boot.



I’m Big!

by Kate & Jim McMullan

$16.99, ages 4–8


The star of this picture book is a young dino who one day wakes up to find all of his pals gone. He may be a “whole lotta lizard” but this guy still has to dodge predators on the search for the herd. Eventually he finds that the only way to succeed is to think BIG — a great message for children (and parents). This story of finding your inner courage is illustrated in watercolor and reads with a rhythmic romp.