It’s the dogs’ last week to take over the Brainstorm. This week, as promised, we’ve got canine fiction picture books, and some of my favorite doggy graphic novels, comics, and manga. Click on the titles to see my full review for each book including any content notes/trigger warnings.
Ball by Mary Sullivan
A dog loves playing ball with his little girl. He is despondent when she has to go to school and dreams of more ball adventures. Will he ever have ball fun again?
The entire text of this book is just the word "ball" repeated with different fonts and punctuation. The rest of the story must be interpreted from the pictures.
Graphic Novel Fans, Humor Fans, Pre-Readers, Readers Practicing Reading with Punctuation, Picture Book Readers
A Camping Spree with Mr Magee (Mr Magee) by Chris Van Dusen
Mr. Magee and his dog Dee decide to go camping for some peace, quiet, and rest. But when a bear with poor sight stumbles into their camp in search of delicious marshmallows things get a bit exciting.
Fun Fact: You can find Mr. Magee and Dee in the background of all Chris Van Dunsen’s picture books, not just the Mr. Magee series.
Camping Story Fans, Outdoors Activity Fans, Humor Fans, Picture Book Readers
Copper by Kazu Kibuishi
Copper is an adventurous human and Fred is a cautious canine. Together they have all sorts of adventures, both mundane and out of this world. This is a collection of a bunch of short comic adventures, the longest only being a few pages long. The end of the book also has a step-by-step look at the way Kibuishi creates comics from rough sketched idea to digital files.
Graphic Novel Fans, Comics Readers, Adventure Fans, Science Fiction Fans, Middle Grade Readers on up
Digging for Dinos (Haggis and Tank Unleashed, #2) by Jessica Young, ill. by James Burks
Haggis and Tank find a bone in the yard and decide to go on one epic dinosaur hunt.
Adventure Fans, Pun Lovers, Graphic Novel Fans, Humor Fans, Imaginative Readers, Lower Grade Readers
A Dog Named Doug by Karma Wilson, ill. by Matt Myers
Doug is a dog who likes to dig. He might like it a bit too much. He might go a little crazy with his digging. And his digging might take him to weird and wonderful places. He out digs a prairie dog, finds treasure, gets in trouble with secret service at the White House, visits several different countries, and eventually gets scolded for digging too many holes in his own back yard. But his owners still love him.
Wildly Imaginative Story Fans, Zany Adventure Fans, Humor Fans, Rhyming Story Fans, Picture Book Readers
A Dog Named Haku: a Holiday Story from Nepal by Margarita Engle with Amish Kanajit and Nicole Kanajit, ill. by Ruth Jeyaveeran
Alu and Bhalu are looking around the city of Kathmandu for a dog to feed as part of the traditions of the Festival of Lights.
Many have heard of Indian Diwali, but this is the Nepalese version of that holiday with some unique aspects. There's a note in the front of the book with a little more information about the holiday and where it is celebrated. The story is quite modern, referencing the way dogs helped save people after the earthquake that struck Kathmandu.
Nepal Setting Fans, Holiday Story Fans, Picture Book Readers
Dogs Are People, Too by Dave Coverly
A collection of Speed Bump comics that feature dogs.
Comics Readers, Humor Fans, Middle Grade Readers on up
Extraordinary Jane by Hannah E. Harrison
Jane is a glaringly normal dog in a family of extraordinary circus dogs. She can’t do the things her parents or her siblings do, so she tries to find her special talent. The results vary from humorous to disastrous. Eventually, Jane and the circus master realize that Jane is best just being herself.
Heartwarming Story Fans, Self-Acceptance Story Fans, Circus Setting Fans, Picture Book Readers
Gaston (Gaston and Friends) by Kelly DiPucchio, ill. by Christian Robinson
Gaston always seems a bit different from his poodle siblings, but he still loves his family and takes his mother's training to heart. So when the Poodle family meets the Bull Dog family at the park and realizes there was a terrible mistake, they decide to try and fix things. But Gaston just doesn't feel at home with the Bull Dogs, and Antoinette cannot fill Gaston's spot in the Poodle family, so the families switch back. But they all still frequently meet together at the park for fun and friendship.
Ugly Duckling Adaptation Fans, Family Story Fans, Picture Book Readers
Good, Rosie by Kate DiCamillo, ill. by Harry Bliss
Rosie is a lonely dog, even though she has a loving owner. When her owner takes her to the dog park she doesn't like it at first. But then she learns how to make friends.
Graphic Novel Fans, Friendship Story Fans, Shy Readers, Picture Book Readers
The Great Puppy Invasion by Alastair Heim, ill. by Kim Smith
The people of Strictville have an unprecedented emergency on their hands when puppies start showing up in town.
Satire/Irony/Hyperbole Fans/Studiers, Humor Fans, Invasion Story Fans, Picture Book Readers
Happy Paws (Layla and the Bots, #1) by Vicky Fang, ill. by Christine Nishiyama
Layla and her three bots find out that Happy Days amusement park is going to close. They are very sad and decide to research where people in the community are going instead, and then come up with ideas to save the park.
Problem Solving Story Fans, Robot Fans, Amusement Park Fans, STEM Story Fans, Graphic Novel Fans, Lower Grade Readers
A collection of comics about Slothilda, her pet corgi Peanut, and the joys and eye-roll moments of pet ownership.
Comic Readers, Humor Fans, Pet Owners, Readers of All Ages
Lone Wolf by Sarah Kurpiel
Maple is a husky and beloved family pet, but after hearing so many people ask her owners if she is a wolf. Maple decides she should take the opportunity an open gate provides to see if she really is a wolf.
Subtle Humor Fans, Readers Wanting to Talk about Labels, Heartwarming Story Fans, Picture Book Readers
Madeline Finn and the Library Dog (Madelien Finn, #1) by Lisa Papp
Madeline Finn struggles to read. She really wants a star at school, but stars are for good readers. And Madeline always struggles. Reading is not fun. But then one week the librarian introduces Madeline to Bonnie, a dog ready to listen to her read. Bonnie doesn't judge when Madeline stumbles and doesn't laugh when she makes a mistake. With Bonnie's help, can Madeline gain enough confidence to get that elusive star?
Struggling Readers, Heartwarming Story Fans, Picture Book Readers
Mega-Dogs of New Kansas by Dan Jolley, ill. by Jacques Khouri
Sienna is the daughter of a scientist and lives with her mom on the planet New Kansas. Sienna’s mom and other scientists are trying to set up a stable settlement. Her mom breeds mega-dogs to help defend a local bird species’ eggs for export from huge native lizard-like creatures called spinners. Sienna loves the dogs, especially Gus. Other kids on the base think Sienna is stuck up because she doesn’t talk to them, but they don’t know that her tongue gets tied at just the thought of talking to them. Thinking they can teach a stuck up girl a lesson, two boys plot a prank for the Vice President’s arrival that goes very wrong. Desperate to save her best friend, Sienna resorts to drastic measures to save Gus. Meanwhile, the settlement is firing up the new power plant the Vice President is there to inspect.
Science Fiction Fans, Graphic Novel Fans, Survival Story Fans, Personal Growth Story Fans, Middle Grade Readers
Mellybean and the Giant Monster (Mellybean, #1) by Mike White
Mellybean has lots of energy and is a bit much for the cats in her family sometimes. When the humans are out, they decide to get Melly outside by telling her to hide a shoe REALLY well. Melly decides to bury it, but finds a hole that she falls into and takes her to a fantasy world. There, Mellybean meets a monster who is being harassed by the king's soldiers and many others. Melly decides to help her new friend, and possibly solve the rest of the problems in this place while she's at it.
Humor Fans, Adventure Fans, Fantasy Fans, Graphic Novel Fans, Fans of Relentlessly Friendly Characters, Readers Needing a Good Dose of Cuteness, Middle Grade Readers (though approachable to Lower Grade Readers)
The Mutts Winter Diaries by Patrick McDonnell
A collection of Mutts comics on the topic of winter.
Comics Readers, Animal Lovers, Winter Antics Fans, Readers of All Ages
The Perfect Dog by Kevin O’Malley
A little girl tries to decide which kind of dog would be perfect as her new pet.
The book repeatedly uses superlative adjectives with illustrations demonstrating these comparisons well.
Kids Who Want a Pet, Families about to Adopt a Dog, Readers Learning about Superlative Adjectives, Picture Book Readers
Puppy Love (Babymouse, #8) by Jennifer L. Holm, ill. by Matthew Holm
Babymouse’s latest fish has gone to the great fish bowl in the sky and it is time for a new pet. Babymouse would love a kitten or puppy, but her parents would like her to prove her pet owner skills with something less taxing first. And boy, does she fail epically! Somehow pet after pet after pet disappears quite quickly after arriving at Babymouse’s house. Eventually her mom draws the line and says no more, but when a lost dog shows up Babymouse gets one more chance. Babymouse quickly finds that taking care of a dog is no easy feat.
Humor Fans, Babymouse Fans, Kids Who Want a Pet, Graphic Novel Fans, Middle Grade Readers (though approachable to Lower Grade Readers)
Puppy’s Big Day (Bad Kitty, #8) by Nick Bruel
Bad Kitty is totally freaking out, so Uncle Murray comes over to save Puppy from the ordeal. But then Uncle Murray ends up having quite a few hiccups in puppy watching.
Humor Fans, Graphic Novel Fans, Lower Grade Readers
Rescue & Jessica: a Life-Changing Friendship by Jessica Kensky & Patrick Downes, ill. by Scott Magoon
The story of how a service dog and amputee change each other's lives, told from the perspective of at first a service dog in training and a girl who is a recent amputee because of an accident who eventually meet.
This is a fictionalized story based on a true one. The real Jessica was an adult when she was injured in the Boston Marathon bombing. The Jessica in the story is depicted as a young teenager with a little brother and parents, and it just says she had a bad accident. You also get to hear thoughts from both Rescue and Jessica so the book is a little fantastical. The story still shows how a service dog can really help someone though. There's a little on the real Jessica and Rescue in the back of the book.
Biographical Fiction Fans, Service Dog Fans, Feel-Good Story Fans, Picture Book Readers
Roy Digs Dirt by David Shannon
Roy is a dog who is a bit obsessed with dirt. He LOVES dirt. He especially loves digging in dirt.
Humor Fans, Pet Owners, Fans of Dirt Fun, Picture Book Readers
Salty Dogs by Matty Long
The Salty Dogs are fearsome pirates but they are having a little trouble finding treasure with all the other pirates in the area. They have one last hope. A treasure they left on Crossbone Island. But can they get there before the other pirates?
Like Long's other picture books there can be quite a lot going on in just one spread and often those large spreads have a subtle prompt in something someone says for a hide and seek challenge (i.e. if someone says they lost something, you can find it somewhere on the page).
Pirate Story Fans, Picture Puzzle Fans, Adventure Fans, Lower Grade Readers
Silver Spoon Vol. 5 (Silver Spoon) by Hiromu Arakawa, trans. by Amanda Haley
Hachiken finds a dog during the school clean up and they decide to keep it to guard the stables. But Hachiken has a lot to learn about training a dog, so he does what he does best and studies. The students at Ezo Ag are gearing up for the big festival they put on, and Hachiken's great ability to be responsible and unable to say no may mean he's overcommitted himself...just a bit. He's also trying to learn how to jump in equestrian club but can't seem to make his horse cooperate.
Manga Fans, Contemporary Fiction Fans, Boarding School Story Fans, Humor Fans, Farm Life Story Fans, Those Curious about Where Food Comes From, Japan Setting Fans, Young Adult Readers
Stormy: a Story about Finding a Forever Home by Guojing
A wordless picture book about a shy, homeless puppy, and a kind woman who keeps trying to befriend the puppy, but isn't able to fully connect until a big storm.
Wordless Book Fans, Feel Good Story Fans, Animal Adoption Story Fans, Art Lovers, Picture Book Readers
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Marvel's Oz, #1) based on the book by L. Frank Baum, adapted by Eric Shanower, ill. by Skottie Young
A graphic novel version of the classic children's story about Dorothy's first adventures in Oz with the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion. In case you're not familiar with these: Dorothy and gang are all off to see the Wizard of Oz and get his help for their various problems (real and imagined). Oz tells them he'll help them after the Wicked Witch of the West is no longer an issue (thinking that will never happen). And then, Dorothy and gang do the impossible. Oz makes up things to give the Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Lion after they expose him for being a humbug. He makes a hot air balloon to sail over the great desert with Dorothy, but the balloon takes off before Dorothy gets in. So Dorothy and gang go on another adventure to go find the Good Witch of the South and see if she can help Dorothy get home.
This version is extremely true to the original, often copying sections of text word for word, and making sure to keep the original elements instead of Hollywood elements. The style of writing Baum used originally lends itself well to graphic novel format, and putting it in graphic novel format helps make the sometimes simplistic and cheesy text feel more natural. Young's illustrations are a perfect blend of whimsical and kid friendly, and make the story that much better. And obviously, Toto is a big part of the story and why this book is being included in with the dogs books.
Quest Story Fans, Adventure Fans, Fantasy Fans, Graphic Novel Fans, Classic Fans, Middle Grade Readers