For many, summer is the perfect time to dive into a new book (or two)! Whether you prefer to sit back on a beach chair with your toes in the sand or curl up inside with the kiddos or a furry pal, these books for animal lovers are sure to make your summer feel extra warm and fuzzy.

Picture Books for Kids

The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABCs (the Hard Way)

It starts with an ALLIGATOR and a BEAR chasing a CAT. When a DRAGON (and a chicken and an egg!) join in pursuit, things start to get really interesting. This unique and whimsical take on the traditional alphabet book is a recipient of starred reviews from Kirkus, Horn Book, and Publishers Weekly.

“This quickly endeared itself to me, and I’m saying now for the record that this will go down as one of the year’s best picture books … There’s so much humor here, and the story takes you in unexpected places with an exceedingly charming cast of characters.” — Kirkus ReviewsLittle Red Cat ABC Book

Thank You and Good Night

During a fun pajama party, three animal friends dance, play, and take time to give thanks before drifting off to sleep. This award-winning bedtime story captures the magic of a sleepover with friends, and reminds us to cherish life’s simplest pleasures.

“The book’s simplicity, gentle rhythms, and easy patterns make it perfect for bedtime reading … Youngsters who love their stuffed animals will particularly latch onto this, and parents who want to promote nocturnal tranquility (or those with their own fond memories of Pooh Bear) will appreciate this little gem as well.” — BCCB, starred review

Books for Young Readers

Tek: The Modern Cave Boy

Is it a book … or an electronic tablet? This timely tale comes packaged as a tablet-shaped hardcover that’s perfect for today’s digital-savvy children. It’s a hilarious (and heartfelt) reminder of how technology can take us backward — all the way to the times of prehistoric man! Tek, a cave boy, is obsessed with tech. He never sees his friends or family anymore. Can anyone in the village convince Tek to unplug and come outside into the big, beautiful world?

“McDonnell plays fast and loose with the historical record in this playful cautionary tale … ever-cute creatures deliver the story’s tech-addiction message with a grin, and clever references abound.” — Publishers Weekly


In his characteristic heartwarming style, Patrick McDonnell tells the story of the young Jane Goodall and her special childhood toy chimpanzee named Jubilee. As the young Jane observes the natural world around her with wonder, she dreams of “a life living with and helping all animals,” until one day she finds that her dream has come true. Includes anecdotes taken directly from Jane Goodall’s autobiography!

“McDonnell’s concentration on [Jane’s] childhood fantasies carries a strong message to readers that their own dreams—even the wildly improbable ones—may be realizable, too.” Publishers Weekly

Books for Young Adults

MUTTS Shelter Stories: Love. Guaranteed.

In this emotive collection, Patrick McDonnell has paired more than 70 full-color, reader-submitted photographs of adopted animals with over 100 of his popular “Shelter Stories” comic strips.

The MUTTS Summer Diaries

This diary-style paperback is perfect for young readers but fun for animal lovers of any age. Celebrate summer with the MUTTS gang as they beat the heat at the beach (and sometimes, in Earl’s inflatable backyard pool). The summertime adventures of this lovable dog-and-cat duo include salivating over ice cream and lemonade, building sandcastles, exchanging knock-knock jokes with a dolphin, and more. Plus, check out the “More to Explore” section to learn fun facts about real-life marine animals!

Spiritual and Feel-Good Books for Animal Lovers

Darling, I Love You: Poems from the Hearts of Our Glorious Mutts and All Our Animal Friends

From Patrick McDonnell and internationally acclaimed poet Daniel Ladinsky comes a collaborative book of poetry and illustrations guaranteed to tug at the tender emotions of any animal lover. Darling, I Love You: Poems from the Hearts of Our Glorious Mutts and All Our Animal Friends contains poems about the special places animals hold in our hearts, accompanied by drawings of the MUTTS characters that readers have come to know and love.

“Pet owners will chuckle knowingly about the way the speakers shift between simple observations — ‘sometimes all you need/ is a friend who won’t/ question you’ — and deeper statements, such as ‘greet yourself/ in your thousand/ other forms’ that reminds us why humans need animals as much as they need us.” — The Washington Post

Guardians of Being: Spiritual Teachings From Our Dogs and Cats

This wonderfully unique book is a collaboration between spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle and MUTTS creator Patrick McDonnell. The marriage of Patrick’s art and Eckhart’s words conveys a profound love of nature, animals, humans, and all life forms. Guardians of Being reminds us of the wonder and joy to be found in the present moment, amid the beauty we sometimes forget to notice all around us.

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Comments (2)

I love share poems from “Darling, I Love You: Poems from the Hearts of Our Glorious Mutts and All Our Animal Friends” with my wife.

John Paine

Finally hot summer weather here so reading Mutts Summer Diaries with a glass of lemonade in the yard!