Here's our list of a dozen of our recommended books that feature animals in a starring role - everything from heartwarming nonfiction, to adventurous historical fiction, and even some fantasy. Many of these are delightful back-list books easily found at your library or local thrift stores. Find one that appeals and jump in.
12 Must Read Books Featuring Animals
Watership Down by Richard Adams
Published 1972, 462 pages
Imminently readable and a classic about rabbits who are forced to leave their warren and find another; there are challenges along the way and some interesting societal corollaries. I'm telling you, it's better than you think!
The Dogs of Christmas by W. Bruce Cameron
Published 2013, 233 pages
A man who has never wanted a dog finds an abandoned pregnant dog and rescues her. Once the puppies arrive, he asks for help at the local shelter where he meets a woman and falls in love - just as he's falling in love with the puppies that have changed his life. Wonderful depiction of the playfulness of puppies.
The Dog Master by W. Bruce Cameron
Published 2015, 416 pages
Reviewed here. Early tribal man, interactions with a sacred wolf, tribal strife and challenges was SO interesting, developing friendship with wolf well told.
Amazing Gracie by Dan Dye & Mark Beckloff
Published 2003, 256 pages
The Lion is In by Delia Ephron
Published 2012, 304 pages
A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C. A. Fletcher
Published 2019, 365 pages
Reviewed here. The tale of a boy chasing the man who stole his dog through a dystopian wasteland and he's led further from home than he's ever been - fear and bravery, perseverance and love, excitement and action.
Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
Published 1999, 457 pages
A Big Little Life by Dean Koontz
Published 2009, 288 pages
Reviewed here. A heartwarming story of Trixie, Koontz's beloved golden retriever filled with loving tales of all the ways she brightened and changed the lives of him and his family. Keep the tissues handy for those happy tears.
Winterdance by Gary Paulsen
Published 1995, 272 pages
A fascinating story of a man who decided to run the Iditarod on a whim - starting from the beginning and choosing and training his dogs (whatever could go wrong, did) and then the hardship of the actual race. Unputdownable!
Dogtripping by David Rosenfelt
Published 2013, 278 pages
Rosenfelt (author of the Andy Carpenter series) writes the story of the trip he and his wife take moving from California to Maine with a mere 25 rescue dogs, 11 volunteers, and 3 RVs. Humor and warmth pervade this inspiring story.
Play Dead (#6 Carpenter) by David Rosenfelt
Published 2007, 308 pages
Carpenter saves a dog's life in court then realizes he holds the answer to a murder and he must convince the jury to believe the dog's testimony. As with most Carpenter mysteries, the dog plays a pivotal role.
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Published 2008, 321 pages
If you haven't read this one, what are you waiting for? Move it to the top of your list immediately! A sometimes heart wrenching (not always happy) story of the ups and down of family life and being the pet of a race car driver - all from the perspective of Enzo, the loving dog. Another 3 hankie read.