It was Chinese New Year on Friday and this means we are now in the Year of the Dog.
So what better way to celebrate than with a selection of our favourite stories about man’s best friend? Let us know if you have any favourites we’ve missed!
Oi Dog! by Kes Gray and Jim Field. £6.99 (paperback), Hodder
The second tongue-twisting instalment in this bestselling saga of super silly seating scenarios is as irresistible as the original, Oi Frog!
This time, with the frog turning the rules on their head, it’s down to the nice-but-dim dog to puzzle over the complexities of chair etiquette and whether cheetahs really must sit on fajitas.
As ever, the illustrations are a riot and there’s lots of opportunity for funny voices for the trio of characters, should you fancy it.
Odd Dog Out by Rob Biddulph. £6.99 (paperback), HarperCollins Children’s
This story about an adorable dachshund who doesn’t fit in is classic children’s literature territory – conformity versus individuality, being proud of yourself and showing tolerance to people who are different to you.
But thanks to Rob’s faultless rhyming text and fantastic illustrations, this timeless tale feels fresh – and you don’t mind reading it over and over again.
Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton. £5.99 (board book), Walker
The playful puppy protagonist of this witty tale is desperate to behave when his owner Harris goes out. But chasing Cat, eating cake and playing with rubbish are just too tempting to resist.
Toddlers will sympathise with – and parents will recognise well – this riotous character, made all the more of a whirlwind thanks to award-winning author and illustrator Chris Haughton’s distinctive and eye-catching artwork.
We just love the cliffhanger at the end too.
The Hundred And One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith, adapted by Peter Bently and illustrated by Steven Lenton. £6.99 (paperback), Egmont
The children’s classic-turned-Disney film about Missis and Pongo’s fight to save their pups from the clutches of Cruella de Vil gets the picture book treatment for the first time.
And what a treat it is, with simplified text by Peter Bently and stylish artwork by Steven Lenton that embraces the spirit of earlier versions and will win the story a whole new generation of fans.
Frankfurt by Mia Cassany and Mikel Casal. £8.99 (hardback), Tate
When Pierre rescues a puppy, the pair become inseparable friends. Far from a tearaway, the orphaned dachshund is a refined character, who would never chew a shoe or slurp his tea.
But Frankfurt has a problem – he hates his name. How can he get his human saviour to realise this, while still remaining polite?
This new book is really sweet and has ever so stylish artwork, just fit for a smart sausage dog who likes to read the New York Times.
Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill. £7.99 (board book), Penguin
The story that introduced generations of children to mischievous puppy Spot is such a classic that it’s often forgotten how groundbreaking this picture book was back in 1980, thanks to its lift-the-flap innovation.
We love helping Spot’s mum Sally hunt for him at teatime, looking under rugs, inside grandfather clocks and under the stairs, to be confronted by an array of animals normally seen at the zoo.
A book that every child should own.
The Detective Dog by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Sara Ogilvie. £6.99 (paperback), Macmillan
Nell’s two passions in life are finding six-year-old Peter’s mislaid belongings and listening to children read books. So when the school’s books are stolen, her keen sense of smell and innate curiosity mean there is only one detective for the job.
As ever with Julia Donaldson, the rhyming text of this tale is utterly flawless while the concept is completely charming. There’s also a retro feel and appealing energy to Sara Ogilive’s artwork, with big bonus points for the fantastic female lead character.
Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd. £6.99 (board book), Puffin
Did you ever play that memory game on car journeys where you took turns to add items to a shopping list, having to remember an increasingly long list? This iconic first Hairy Maclary book very much reminds me of that.
The classic tale from 1983 sees a growing procession of pooches, all different shapes and sizes, join our hero as he marches into town. Their tongue-twisting names like Hercules Morse and Schnitzel von Krumm make it loads of fun to read aloud, with the repetitive text making it easy for little ones to pick up and join in too.