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

PJ Gardner Switzer Author Of Horace & Bunwinkle
By PJ Gardner Switzer

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 Switzer, 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.

The books I picked & why

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The Great Pet Heist

By Emily Ecton, David Mottram (illustrator),

Book cover of The Great Pet Heist

Why 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!


Blue Mountain

By Martine Leavitt,

Book cover of Blue Mountain

Why 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.


Journey Beyond the Burrow

By Rina Heisel,

Book cover of Journey Beyond the Burrow

Why 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!


Secondhand Dogs

By Carolyn Crimi,

Book cover of Secondhand Dogs

Why 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.


Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery

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

Book cover of Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery

Why 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.


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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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