What to Read After… Dogger

Published on: 09 August 2021 Author: Anna McKerrow

Shirley Hughes' Dogger has been adored by millions since being published in the 1970s. So what other children's books capture the same cosy and cuddly feel?

Illustration by Shirley Hughes from Dogger

Dogger is the classic picture book about a shabby soft toy and the little boy who passionately loves, loses and finds his doggy. It's a beautiful, heartwarming look at the bond that small children form with their favourite toys (and the panic whenever they're lost!), as well as a lovely look at the relationship between siblings and the joy of learning to share and do things for others. 

Our Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Shirley Hughes, wrote and illustrated the book in 1977 and it's been popular with families ever since.

If you're a big fan of the book, which other ones might you enjoy with your child? We have some ideas...

For books about beloved toys

Illustration from the front cover of Dawn Coulter Cruttenden's Bear Shaped 

The American classic The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams is perhaps one of the most famous stories about a much-loved toy that only becomes “real” if it has been loved enough. Mini Grey’s Toys in Space finds a group of toys left out in the garden overnight; to stop them all feeling scared, Wonderdoll starts to tell them a story about a mysterious space traveller that collects lost toys. In Julia Woolf’s Duck and Penguin Do Not Like Sleepovers, two little girls who are best friends have favourite toys that really don’t get on at all, and in Dawn Coulter-Cruttenden’s Bear Shaped, a little boy on the autistic spectrum loses his favourite bear in the park.

For older readers wanting to see what toys get up to

Illustration from Lissa Evans' Wed Wabbit

Older readers might enjoy Mark Powers’ Spy Toys, where Dan, the freakishly strong cuddly bear, faces the choice of being crushed or a secret mission to rescue the Prime Minister’s son. Or what about Annabelle Sami’s Llama Out Loud, in which quiet girl Yasmin’s life is turned upside down by Levi, a talking, shouting, joking, laughing prankster of a toy llama? Shane Hegarty and Ben Mantle’s BOOT: Small Robot, Big Adventure tells the story of Boot, a toy robot who wakes up in a junkyard with only two memories. Can he find his owner, Beth, before his power runs out? Last, Lissa Evans’ tremendously imaginative Wed Wabbit throws readers into a strange alternative world where some rather brainless toys, the Wimbley Woos, are being ruled in an increasingly dystopian toy world by the dictator Wed Wabbit.

For themes of family and everyday life

Illustration by Rosalind Beardshaw from the Lulu books

If your child loves Dogger for its look at an everyday family, they might also enjoy the Lulu books by Anna McQuinn and Rosalind Beardshaw, both of which centre on everyday activities like going swimming, making lunch, pets, nursery and other preschooler activities. Alternatively, Ken Wilson-Max’s Lenny and Wilbur is a lovely tale about one boy and his much loved dog, while Mike and Peter Carnavas’ Jump and Shout is a great, simple rhyming story about a brilliant day of play, picnics and naps.

More cosy classics

Illustration by Helen Oxenbury from We're Going on a Bear Hunt

Last, if you’re looking for other cosy and reassuring classic children’s picture books for storytime, Lifetime Achievement Winner Judith Kerr’s Mog books are always cuddly in the best way, as are the Elmer books by Lifetime Achievement Winner David McKee. Jill Murphy’s picture books, such as Peace at Last and her recent Just One of Those Days, fit the bill for relatable, classic stories about the everyday life of little ones and their families. And, of course, where would we be without fellow Lifetime Achievement Winner Helen Oxenbury and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen’s We’re Going on a Bear Hunt?

Join in!

Those are some of our ideas – but what about you

Let us know by leaving your comments in the box below or tweeting us @BookTrust using the hashtag #WhatToReadAfter!

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