A dog called Bear by Diane and Christyan Fox
Faber, 2016. ISBN 9780571329434
Lucy has always wanted a dog and has read all the books about them and saved her pocket money to buy all the stuff that a dog needs. And so she begins her search... not at a pet shop but in her neighbourhood. First she encounters a frog who pleads his case but he does not meet Lucy's requirements. Neither does the fox. But Bear seems to and because it's late and she's tired, she decides he will be fine.
It's an unlikely partnership but it works until Bear did what bears do in winter - hibernate. Lucy was not pleased. She not only wanted a full-time dog but also one that lived up to her expectations, not one that was messy, dug a lot and and ate so much porridge. Bear wasn't happy either - carrying sticks, repeatedly fetching a ball and being woken up were not his ideals. And so he runs away...
This is a charming story about what it means to have a pet and what our expectations of them are. It would be ideal for starting a discussion with very young children about the sorts of creatures that make a suitable pet and what is required to take care of them - it's more than lots of cuddles and snuggles.
One for the little ones in our lives.