Since 2010, Cathy Mere of Reflect and Refine Building a Learning Community and Mandy Robek of Enjoy and Embrace Learning have been hosting #pb10for10, a fabulous event for sharing the power of picture books! While Cathy and Mandy are taking a hiatus this year, August 10th will always hold a special place in my heart because it is the day I launched Beagles and Books and shared my very first blog post. Today marks my FIFTH year of blogging AND sixth year participating in #pb10for10. Click below to view my previous lists. Can you notice my trend?
Almost every Monday for #IMWAYR, I feature one book with a canine main character and Bella graciously poses with each book. With a blog called Beagles and Books, I must continue my tradition of sharing my 10 favorite dog picture books published or publishing in 2022. Bella and I hope you find a PAW-tastic book that you will enjoy reading and sharing with kids!
Being a Dog: A Tail of Mindfulness by Maria Gianferrari Illustrated by Pete Oswald (April 2022)
If you are looking for a picture book to support social emotional learning, I highly recommend Being a Dog. Children not only get to learn mindful strategies, but also are exposed to vivid verbs (munch, romp, ruffle, wade, whirl) which enhances their oral and written vocabulary. The back matter includes directions on how to take a mindful nature walk with a canine friend in all four seasons as well as instructions on a mindful breathing exercise.
With rhythmic, concise text, and warm, expressive artwork, Being a Dog is a tale that gives children the “oppawtunity” to learn how to mindful of their feelings in order to reach their full “pet-tential.” To read my full review, click here. And stay tuned for a companion text, Being a Cat: A Tale of Curiosity publishing in 2023.
Togo and Balto: The Dogs Who Save a Town by Jodie Parachini Illustrated by Keiron Ward and Jason DeWhirst (April 2022)
Part of the Animalographies series, this narrative nonfiction picture book tells the story of Siberian huskies, Togo and Balto, who were trained as sled dogs. Kids may know sled dogs compete in the Iditarod but they (along with adults like me) will learn the crucial role that huskies played in the Serum Race bringing lifesaving serum to the children who were stricken with diphtheria in the 1920s in Nome, Alaska.
I love that Parachini chose to tell the story from Togo’s point of view with a combination of text and journal entries. I also appreciate that she chose Togo as narrator because I have read books featuring Balto, but never knew Togo was a famous sled dog.
Hot Dog by Doug Salati (May 2022)
Summer in the city is no fun for a dachshund doing errands with his human. It’s too
hot to sit or sniff and the streets are so crowded. Putting his paws down, the pup lays in the street until his human gets the message. On the next few page spreads, readers see the pair in a taxi, a train, and a boat which takes them to an island where the dog can let loose literally and figuratively. Once off leash, he runs on the beach, splashes in the water, and collects rocks. As the sun sets, the pup and his human travel back to their city home to eat supper and snooze.
As I read, I was aware of how both Salati’s text and artwork elicit emotions. I could feel the stickiness and loudness of the city as well as the dog’s frustration. The moment his human got down on her knees to rub under his chin, I knew she understood his needs and a smile never left his face. I love his use of alliteration (crowds close in, welcome whiff, skyline shimmers) and at times, Salati let his artwork alone tell the story. The format had a graphic novel feel with some pages having multiple panels of varying sizes. The heart of the story was the relationship between the dog and its human; the immense love they have for each other poured out from the illustrations.
Everywhere with You by Carlie Sorosiak Illustrated by Devon Halzwarth (May 2022)
A girl and a dog live next door to each other. One day the girl puts her hand through an opening in the fence rails and offers the dog a peanut butter cracker. He accepts without hesitation and a friendship begins. The girl returns the next night but this time with books to read aloud to her new friend. Storytime continues through each season. One night, the dog sees the girl with her parents in the house and longs to be a part of that love. He howls in despair and she comes to the fence to soothe his sadness. Nights later, the dog discovers a hole and runs through the mud to the girl’s porch barking. Once the door opens, the smiles on both their faces is pure bliss. Knowing how much the girl and dog love each other, the mother talks to the neighbors and that night, they get their wish to share to be together anywhere and everywhere.
Everywhere with You is a story that tugged at my heart. Sorosiak’s lyrical text and Halzwarth’s gorgeous illustrations evoked feelings of sorrow and joy. The dog lived outside this whole life and while he had a dog house for shelter (and I assume food), his emotional needs were not being met. The girl was loved by her parents, but lonely for a true friend. Through reading, the two forged a friendship which grew to a genuine love for one another.
Piglet Comes Home: How a Deaf Blind Puppy Found His Family by Melissa Shapiro, DVM Illustrated by Ellie Snowden (June 2022)
Six rescue dogs eagerly await a new addition to the family. Will it be a small or large dog? A girl or a boy? The oldest dog Susie wisely says “We will welcome them with open paws because we are a family.” When Mom comes home and puts down a very small crate, the dogs saw a squealing pink puppy. She introduced the pack to Piglet who was deaf and blind. All the dogs try to lend a paw of support, but a scared Piglet remains in his crate. At night, when Piglet transitions to a dog bed, Susie calms his cries with snuggles. Day by day, Piglet learns not only to trust the other dogs, but also to trust his instincts using his keen sense of smell.
Stories about rescue dogs always tug at my heart so when it is a story about a real dog, my heart explodes! Piglet Comes Home is a sweet story about how Piglet despite not being able to see or hear has thrived because of his never give up attitude and his loving and supportive environment. At the end of the book, Shapiro shares the the story behind the story with bios and photographs of all the dogs and more information on the outreach program called Piglet Mindset which I can’t wait to share with teachers when school begins.
Every Dog in the Neighborhood by Philip C. Stead Illustrated by Matthew Cordell (June 2022)
On a walk with his Grandma who is checking out something in the neighborhood, Louis tells her he wants a dog. She responds, “There are enough dogs in the neighborhood.” Louis asks her “How many dogs?” but Grandma does not answer. Since city hall doesn’t have a count of dogs, Louis decides to tally up the dogs himself going door to door. His data collection project gives him the opportunity to meet all the dogs as well as their owners. I love how for some dogs, their names match their personalities, for E.B. dreams of writing animal stories. But a name does not always hold true, for Caboose likes to first. My favorite dog of all was Harvey, who now lives in his owner’s heart; sweet Louis counted him.
Meanwhile, Grandma was working on a project of her own. Because the city refused to help, Grandma refurbished an abandoned lot into a dog park. It is clear from where Louis gets his initiative (& humor). Louis’ final count of dog is 19, but Grandma believes he missed one. Could this be a surprise for Louis?
Cordell’s loose, expressive artwork brings Stead’s quiet and touching story to life. His illustrations perfectly capture both Grandma and Louis’ personalities. I love how Grandma’s project is not mentioned in the text, but only through the illustrations so readers truly have to read both the words and the pictures. I also adore Louis’ relationship with his Grandma; and he is right. Grandma knows everything which is why I love her too!
Don’t Worry, Murray by David Ezra Stein (June 2022)
Murray is a worrier. Rain, thunder, bigger dogs, and fireworks all make Murray anxious. Luckily, Murray has a supportive human who reassures him he can face his fears. For example, he can don a raincoat to stay dry and big dogs can be nice if you give them a chance. Each time, Murray shows courage, his human exclaims “Good boy Murray! Good boy” providing positive feedback. When Murray is successful, his apprehensive attitude fades and his happiness is evident with a smile and a tail wag. When Murray is afraid of artwork hanging near this dog bed, not only does his human offers to remain with him until he falls asleep but also recounts all the brave things Murray did throughout the day. On the last page, as Murray snoozes, he dreams of himself as a flying caped superhero. Adorably illustrated, Don’t Worry Murray is a sweet story about conquering our fears with the help of a loved one.
Lou by Breanna Carzoo (July 2022)
Dogs are typically the main event in this feature, but Lou, a fire hydrant, is pretty deserving to make this list given his contribution to the canine crew. He knows he is useful as a toilet for the neighborhood dogs yet he yearns to serve a higher purpose. As Lou narrates the story from the sidewalk, readers see a fire starting in an apartment in the background. Unbeknownst to Lou, a fire truck parks close by him and when a Dalmatian pays a visit, he thinks it’s business as usual until the firefighter attaches a hose to him. Suddenly, Lou knows his true gift.
I absolutely adore everything about Lou. In her author/illustrator debut, Carzoo has created an utterly endearing character who possesses both a sense of humor and incredible depth. I love seeing the story within the story involving a cat, a pot cooking on a stove, and a dad and his child leaving the kitchen which ultimately leads to Lou realizing his superhero powers. With potty puns and a passionate main character, Lou is a story that make you chuckle and tug at your heart. And while my local fire hydrant is orange, I am so tempted to paint it red and give it eyes and a mouth. And don’t worry Lou; Bella only sees you for the hero you are!
Puppy Bus by Drew Brockington (July 2022)
The first day at a new school is nerve racking but what if you boarded the wrong bus and it was full of dogs? Kids will laugh out loud following a boy’s day at Leroy’s Puppy School where he attends classes with canines. While lunch and the bathroom are not his favorites, the dogs sense his anxiety and cheer him up. Soon he is smiling enjoying recess, a sing-a-long, and a read aloud. Perhaps school won’t be so bad after all. Excited when he gets on the bus the next morning, the boy discovers he is not on the Puppy Bus, but the Kitty Bus. Oh no!
I am always looking for fun new back to school read alouds and Puppy Bus is pawsitively perfect because it will help ease anxiety for kids beginning a new school year whether they are attending a new school or returning. The boy’s reactions are hysterical and I especially love how as the day progresses, his first day jitters subside due to the friendships he makes.
And 1 New Picture Book Releasing Fall 2022!
SumoPuppy by David Biedrzycki (October 18, 2022)
In the sequel to SumoKitty, readers are introduced to a stray pug puppy who was brought to the heya (training center) by Okamisan (manager). At first, the pup named Chanko-chan is a nuisance following SummoKitty everywhere. But what if he could teach her the ways of kitty allowing SummoKItty to spending more time napping and less time mousing?
Enthusiasm is a worthy trait but Chanko-chan’s energetic spirit was neither a good match for kitty duties nor for living in the heya. Okamisan takes Chanko-chan to a shelter; however, her stay is short. When she finds her way back to the heya, Chanko-chan proves her pep has a purpose. Biedrzycki’s humorous and heartwarming tale teaches that sometimes talents may need time to be fully appreciated. Thanks to Charlesbridge for sharing an eARC. I can’t wait to see the gorgeous artwork in person and share this sweet story with my students.
Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books’ #pb10for10! Do you have a favorite dog picture book? Please feel free to share in the comments below.