What’s better than a great book about our favorite furry friends? Not much, especially if the book has an equally endearing film adaptation. I’ll be honest– not all of the books in this list are accompanied by a happy ending, but each is still sure to warm your heart and is well worth your while. Most of the books listed have also been adapted to film– and the films are nearly as enjoyable as the books.
The Art of Racing in the Rain follows the story of a dog named Enzo. It begins at the end of his life and flashes back on moments throughout time. We start at the moment he was picked up from his litter by the main character, Danny, and follow closely throughout his life’s journey. We watch Danny find love, start a family, and continue his passion for racing through the unique lens of Enzo, his four- legged best friend. More than anything, Enzo wants to be reincarnated as a human. All he wants is to spend a longer life with his favorite humans.
Be sure to have a family size tissue box on hand for this one. A classic coming-of-age novel, Where the Red Fern Grows follows the story of a young boy and his two most trustworthy companions while they adventure deep into the Ozark mountains. The story of Billy Colman, Old Dan, and Little Ann is an inspirational tale about perseverance, friendship, and never giving up on your dreams. The joy of the story is worth every tear you’ll shed at the end.
Though it’s been many years since I’ve read this book, it has held a treasured place in my heart. The story focuses on a bored little boy named Milo, who must travel through mysterious and whimsical lands to discover the cure to his boredom. Along the way, he meets a watchdog named Tock, who accompanies him on his adventures. Before you assume this book is only for children, think again– it is just as equally intended for adults. The story is dense with metaphors, valuable life lessons, and is an allegory. If you’re into that sort of thing. While the story’s primary focus isn’t the dog, Tock, he plays a very important role in the story. He helps the main character’s understanding of time, of growing up, and of the value of imagination.
Remember that box of tissues from earlier? Yeah, you might want to hang onto those for this one. A Dog’s Purpose follows the story of a dog over the course of four lifespans. He begins as Toby, then Bailey, then Elleya, and lastly, Buddy. In each life, Toby must discover what his purpose is in the world. You’ll be crying an equal amount of sad and happy tears as you discover along with him. With all the emotions this book brings, joy and happiness are at the top of the list. The joy outshines the tear-jerking moments, and the story will leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling in your heart.
This book is another classic that stands the test of time, especially for the avid adventurer. Following the epic tale of the dog Buck, this book will take you on a journey through love, friendship, loss, and rediscovery. Buck must find his way through the freezing Alaskan tundra– but not without the help of a few friends along the way. If you’re more curious about film than books, you’ll be excited to find the film adaptation starring the legendary Harrison Ford.
The Lilly Brush Team
Writing Specialist at Lilly Brush Co.