The best middle grade books you haven’t already read with animal POV

Who am I?

Writing children’s books from an animal’s point of view is a special art. You have to place yourself in both the mind of the child and the animal. It requires research and imagination. There aren’t many writers who like to tackle all of that. Personally, I love it! In fact, most of my books for young readers are written from an animal’s perspective.

I wrote...

Horace & Bunwinkle

By PJ Gardner, David Mottram (illustrator),

Book cover of Horace & Bunwinkle

What is my book about?

Horace Homer Higgins III despises dirt. And the outdoors. And ducks. But when his person, Ellie, moves to a farm called the Homestead, the anxious Boston Terrier is forced to adapt. As if that isn’t enough to strain his nerves, Ellie adopts a perpetually cheerful potbellied pig named Bunwinkle to be his baby sister. Bunwinkle is delighted to be on the farm despite the stuffiness of her new canine brother.

When the duo discovers that some neighborhood animals have been disappearing, they decide to use their new detective skills to team up to solve this barnyard mystery. Is it a mountain lion? Or their suspiciously shot-loving veterinarians? Only one thing seems certain: if they don’t figure it out soon, one of them might be next.

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The books I picked & why

The Great Pet Heist

By Emily Ecton, David Mottram (illustrator),

Book cover of The Great Pet Heist

Why did I love this book?

This book, the first in a series, is hilarious! There’s nothing quite as fun as a story with very different personalities forced to work together and this story has that in spades. Truly, animals doing anything human is funny, but forming an “International Crime Syndicate” takes it to a new level. And I loved how the animals named the humans by the job they did for the critters. It’s a fun read that will engage even the most reluctant of readers!

By Emily Ecton, David Mottram (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Great Pet Heist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ocean’s Eleven meets The Secret Life of Pets in this “classic caper” (Booklist) following a ragtag group of pets who will do whatever it takes to avoid being sent to the pound.

Butterbean knew she wasn’t always a good dog. Still, she’d never considered herself a BAD dog—until the morning that her owner, Mrs. Food, fell in the hallway. Admittedly the tile was slipperier than usual, mostly because Butterbean had just thrown up on it.

Now Butterbean and her fellow pets have to come up with a grand plan to support themselves in case Mrs. Food is unable to keep…

Blue Mountain

By Martine Leavitt,

Book cover of Blue Mountain

Why did I love this book?

I’m partial to stories that create a set of beliefs and identities for animals. Martine Leavitt does this in a way that’s at once simple and profound. Tuk is a fantastic character that young readers will relate to and root for. If your child liked Pax and A Wolf Called Wander they will love this book.

By Martine Leavitt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Blue Mountain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tuk the bighorn sheep is told he will be the one to save his herd, but he is young and would rather play with his bandmates than figure out why the herd needs saving. As humans encroach further and further into their territory, there is less room for the sheep to wander, food becomes scarce, and the herd's very survival is in danger. Tuk and his friends set out to find Blue Mountain, a place that Tuk sometimes sees far in the distance and thinks might be a better home. The journey is treacherous, filled with threatening pumas and bears…

Book cover of Journey Beyond the Burrow

Why did I love this book?

This is another wonderful example of a richly created animal world. This time it’s the world of a forest mouse. I knew I was going to love it as soon as I read the phrase “Rule of Rodentia.” And, as an arachnophobe, I was excited for this book when I learned that spiders were the villains. It’s a wonderful adventure and young readers will devour it!

By Rina Heisel,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Journey Beyond the Burrow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


With the adventure of Avi’s Poppy series and the heart of A Wolf Called Wander, this charming and exciting middle grade adventure follows one mouse’s journey to save his baby brother from a sinister evil.

There are rules every mouse must follow if they’re to survive in the forest.

Tobin knows these guidelines by heart. After all, with one younger sibling, another on the way, and a best friend with a penchant for trouble-making, he needs to be prepared for anything.

But one stormy night, Tobin’s safe burrow is invaded by monstrous arachnids,…

Secondhand Dogs

By Carolyn Crimi,

Book cover of Secondhand Dogs

Why did I love this book?

This delightful story is perfect for dog lovers! With a relatable cast of characters—from anxious Gus to enthusiastic Moon Pie—and a high-stakes adventure that will keep readers glued to the page. I loved the pack dynamics and Gus reminded me so much of myself. I know kids will absolutely love it.

By Carolyn Crimi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A heartwarming-and heart-tugging-middle grade novel about love, loyalty, and what it means to be part of a family-from author Carolyn Crimi, with adorable illustrations by Melissa Manwill. Perfect for fans of A Dog's Life and Because of Winn-Dixie.

Miss Lottie's home was for second chances.

When she adopted Gus, Roo, Tank, and Moon Pie, Miss Lottie rescued each member of the pack-including herself, her helper, Quinn, and her reclusive cat, Ghost-and turned them into a family. But when a new dog, Decker, arrives and tries to hoard Miss Lottie's heart and home for himself, the pack's future is threatened.



By Deborah Howe, James Howe, Alan Daniel (illustrator)

Book cover of Bunnicula

Why did I love this book?

Okay, this one’s an oldie but a goodie. I loved this book when I read it as a kid and it has stood the test of time. The concept itself is hilarious—a rabbit vampire? Genius! I particularly liked that the high-strung animal wasn’t the dog. Dogs always get stereotyped as dumb or weird and this time it’s the cat. It was recently adapted into a graphic novel which is equally delightful.

By Deborah Howe, James Howe, Alan Daniel (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bunnicula as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Bunnicula rules!" - Dav Pilkey, creator of Dog
Man and Captain Underpants


When tomatoes suddenly go white,
you have to wonder: is the cute wittle wabbit really a vampire?

In this global bestselling classic, Harold the
dog and Chester the cat must find out the truth about the newest
pet in the Monroe household, a suspicious-looking bunny with
unusual habits - and fangs! - before it's too late.

In a second story, the Monroes have gone on vacation, leaving Harold
and Chester at Chateau Bow-Wow. On the animals' first night there,
the silence is pierced by mysterious…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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