The best picture books about animals trying on new identities

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always identified as a weirdo and felt misunderstood, which led to lots of wasted time “trying to fit in.” As an adult, I’ve learned to love myself for exactly who I am, but it took a lot of work and self-reflecting. Looking back, I realize there were actually many kids who felt the same way as me and we just never managed to connect with each other! Finding people who “get you” is an important task—but I truly believe self-love and self-acceptance is the greatest goal for all humans. I hope my books speak to the “weirdos” and non-weirdos a like, and encourages all readers to love themselves just the way they are.


I wrote...

Jet the Cat (Is Not a Cat)

By Phaea Crede, Terry Runyan (illustrator),

Book cover of Jet the Cat (Is Not a Cat)

What is my book about?

Jet is not like any other cat. She loves to swim! But when other animals try to convince her that she’s really a bird or a frog or a goat, she learns to embrace her unique identity. This hilarious story teaches us to celebrate our differences.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Bunnybear

Phaea Crede Why did I love this book?

Everyone looks at Bunnybear and only sees his outsides! As a person who struggled to feel good in my own skin and was often criticized by my peers as a child for being “weird,” I was moved to see Bunnybear on his journey to be comfortable exactly the way he is—which is perfect.

By Andrea J. Loney, Carmen Saldaña (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Bunnybear as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

2018 Storytelling World Resource Award Winner - Stories for Young Listeners
2018 Rainbow Book List

Bunnybear is more than a bear.

Although Bunnybear was born a bear, he feels more like a bunny. He prefers bouncing in the thicket to tramping in the forest, and in his heart he's fluffy and tiny, like a rabbit, instead of burly and loud, like a bear. The other bears don’t understand him, and neither do the bunnies. Will Bunnybear ever find a friend who likes him just the way he is?


Book cover of Quackers

Phaea Crede Why did I love this book?

Quakers thinks he is a duck and discovers he’s really a cat! As a person who often felt pulled between many worlds (like being an introvert sometimes and an extrovert other times) and never really “fit in” I was cheered to see a relatable journey with a sweet, satisfying ending.

By Liz Wong,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Quackers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

Jumpstart's Read for the Record® selection!

A cat who thinks he’s a duck?  He must be Quackers!!
This quirky funny book is about standing out, fitting in, and building a life with room for all.
 
Quackers is a duck. Sure, he may have paws and whiskers. And his quacks might sound more like...well, meows, but he lives among ducks, everyone he knows is a duck, and he's happy.

Then Quackers meets another duck who looks like him (& talks like him, too!)—but he calls himself a cat. So silly!

Quackers loves being among his new friends the cats, but he…


Book cover of Dewey Bob

Phaea Crede Why did I love this book?

Dewey Bob is a cute raccoon who turns trash into treasure and is ostrazied by the other raccoons for being so neat and sweet. I identified with Dewey and his quiet, artistic, and dramatic qualities, and rejoiced at his finding the perfect friend at the end of the story. He is also finally accepted by the other animals, but Dewey already loves himself!

By Judy Schachner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dewey Bob as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

A sweet raccoon character stars in this endearing tale of unexpected friendship from the creator of the bestselling Skippyjon Jones

Dewey Bob Crockett is a durn cute raccoon who lives by himself in a house filled to the brim with the wonderful objects he collects. Buttons, wheels, furniture and bricabrac adorn his cozy quarters and keep him busy as he finds and fixes, turning trash into treasures. But there’s something missing from Dewey’s collections—a friend! He tries gathering up some critters and bringing them home in his shopping cart, but that doesn’t work out so well. In the end, a…


Book cover of Wolf Camp

Phaea Crede Why did I love this book?

Homer the dog is sure he’s a wolf inside! I can relate. All of us have a fierceness inside of us and following Homer on his journey to embrace his inner wolf was funny and inspiring. And I was especially inspired to see that Homer’s wolf journey wasn’t easy (learning to eat raw meat took some time). I often take a long time to embrace being brave, and I love that message for younger readers. 

By Andrea Zuill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wolf Camp as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Meet Homer, a dog who heads to camp to live like a wolf! Here’s the perfect book for the legions of kids out there who love dogs and funny books.
 
Homer is a dog . . . but he also secretly fancies himself part wolf. So when an invitation to attend WOLF CAMP (“Where every dog can live as a wolf for a week”) falls out of his kibble bag one morning, he’s determined to go. After his people finally agree, Homer boards the bus bound for Wolf Camp, along with fellow campers Trixie and Rex. They’re greeted on the…


Book cover of Sweety

Phaea Crede Why did I love this book?

Sweety is a naked mole rat who is just…different. She’s into “weird” things, is sometimes too intense and loud, and wants desperately to find a friend. Basically, Sweety is me. I am Sweety. And I know that other kids who feel like they don’t fit in will love watching Sweety love herself and ultimately find the perfect friend. 

By Andrea Zuill,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Sweety as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An Indie Next List Top 10 Pick!

From the author of WOLF CAMP comes the story of a charming, mushroom-loving, headgear-wearing, totally awkward naked mole rat who is looking for like-minded peeps.

Sweety is awkward, even for a naked mole rat. She has protruding front teeth, thick glasses, and some very unusual hobbies, including interpretive dance and fungus identification. She's intense and passionate--and her peers don't always get her. But surely there are other mushroom lovers out there? As Sweety sets out to find them, she comes to realize--with a little help from her cool Aunt Ruth-- that being Sweety…


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Thorn City

By Pamela Statz,

Book cover of Thorn City

Pamela Statz

New book alert!

What is my book about?

Dressed to kill and ready to make rent, best friends Lisa and Jamie work as “paid to party” girls at the Rose City Ripe for Disruption gala, a gathering of Portland's elite.

Their evening is derailed when Lisa stumbles across Ellen, a ruthless politician and Lisa’s estranged mother. And to make matters worse, Lisa’s boyfriend, Patrick, crashes the party to meet his new boss, Portland's food cart drug kingpin. Lisa makes a fateful choice that traps her, Jamie, and Patrick in Ellen’s web. In this gripping thriller, Lisa must reconcile a painful past and perilous present.

Thorn City

By Pamela Statz,

What is this book about?

Suspected murder, eclectic food trucks, and artisanal cocaine: just another day in Thorn City.

It’s the night of the Rose City Ripe for Disruption gala—a gathering of Portland’s elite. Dressed to kill in sparkling minidresses, best friends Lisa and Jamie attend as “paid to party” girls. They plan an evening of fake flirtations, karaoke playlists, and of course, grazing the catering.

Past and present collide when Lisa stumbles across Ellen, a ruthless politician who also happens to be Lisa’s estranged mother. Awkward . . . When Lisa was sixteen, Ellen had her kidnapped and taken to the Lost Lake Academy—a…


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