Clifford the Big Red Dog has again jumped off the bookshelf for an updated film adaptation. The trailer has divided fans, live action remakes of animated classics seem to have a marmite effect on audiences, but the original books remain essential reading for many families. If your children love Clifford the Big Red Dog, these five books celebrating animal friendships might be a hit.
1. How to Hide a Lion series by Helen Stephens
What's in Grandma's box?
Like Clifford, these books feature a super-sized animal companion. Not a dog, but a very friendly (we promise) and very big lion. The second book in the series, How to Hide a Lion from Grandma, is a favourite in our house. It’s warm and silly, and will have your kids giggling at how Grandma can possibly keep missing the giant lion in the room. And I love that Grandma, far from being the easily startled like we might suspect, has a surprise of her own waiting to be discovered.
2. The Detective Dog by Julia Donaldson
Nell, the book-loving dog
The story of Peter and his dog, Nell. Nell has a very important job, each Monday she goes to school with Peter to listen to children at school read. Until one Monday, all the books are gone. The illustrations in this book are beautiful, with lots of tiny details to absorb little readers (my favourite is the penguin stealthily leaving the takeaway shop with a whole pizza). As ever, the phrasing and rhymes make the book a pleasure to read, and without as much repetition as some of her other books, makes this a great choice for school age children.
3. When Sarah met Duck by Sarah Gomes Harris
Careful Duck! Ack!
You might be familiar with the CBeebies television series, it features a girl called Sarah, her friend Duck, and some very satisfying sound effects (QUACK!). These companion board books will be a hit with pre-schoolers familiar with the show. When Sarah met Duck tells the story of how the friends met and gives lot of opportunities for loud quacking (as well as having a sweet story about the two).
4. The Dinosaur that Pooped the Bed by Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter
Yes, there is a cat surfing a wave of poop.
Alright, I know dinosaurs are extinct, but this series features a larger than life dinosaur that will have your children in stitches. If yours, like mine, are fascinated by poo then they will love this series. Dinosaur is very hungry and will eat anything. Pooped the Bed is my personal favourite as the topic is very relatable for kids; a bedroom that needs to be tidied and a kid, Danny, who doesn’t want to. There is poop-a-plenty and the illustrations do not hold back.
5. Alfie and the Birthday Surprise by Shirley Hughes
Alfie looks after a new friend