Oh, how we love our pets!  This weekend, we are attending a wedding where the bride and groom have arranged for their canine fur-babies to participate in their wedding ceremony.  I am so excited to be present for this joyful celebration!

We would do anything for our special animals.  We whisper sweet nothings in their ears.  We lavish them with toys and treats.  Sometimes we may even write a poem about their antics.  Whether it be compassion for canines, caring for kitties, or adoration of alpacas, we all share a some sense of connection with the animal world.

For all of you animal lovers, I am happy to have the opportunity to share some snippets from Bless Our Pets, a beautiful poetry anthology that will be released from Eerdmans Books for Young Readers in April.

The late Lee Bennett Hopkins, who edited this lovely anthology before his passing, selected a collection of heartwarming poems that pay tribute to some of our dearest animal friends.

Bless Our Pets begins with Ann Whitford Paul’s hope to earn the trust of a trembling kitten.  Rebecca Kai Dotlich (Welcome to the Wonder House) weaves a wonderful poem about a chestnut-eyed puppy who sends messages of love without words. 

The poems offer tribute after touching tribute to our animal companions.  You will find loving poems to a goldfish, a parakeet, a rabbit, and many other furry (and not-so-furry) friends.  Even a snake gets some love here!

Over a dozen notable poets offer praise to animals that have touched their hearts.  I particularly enjoyed the poem “Box Turtle” by B. J. Lee, which begins:

Box Turtle



little turtle

squirming on your back,



polka-dotted legs,

tummy, hard shellac.


I place you

on all fours again,

hard dome beneath soft hand.


Your armored plates

so colorful –

your shell a wonderland…

The poem goes on to show that sometimes the best way to express our love for animals is to allow them the freedom they need.

The adorable illustrations by the incomparable Lita Judge capture the personalities of each of these beloved creatures.  Lita’s whimsical paintings skillfully illustrate the bond between humans and their pets. 

Check out this sweet baby:

Don’t you just want to scoop up that little guy and give him a hug?

This beautiful anthology closes with Lee Bennett Hopkins’s tribute “My Old Dog,” which brought more than a few tears to my eyes and reminded me of my lab, Sugar, who left for the great-field-of-tennis-balls-in-the-sky a few years ago.  Both adults and children who love pets, poems, and adorable paintings (and that’s pretty much everyone, isn’t it?!) will love this gentle anthology.

For the Poetry Friday roundup, please visit the charming Carol Varsalona for some Valentine's love at Beyond LiteracyLink.


  • Tracey thank you for sharing snippets from this book which I know I am going to have to own. I loved the turtle poem, too - it reminded me of a favourite childhood poem about the turtle who lived in a box. 
  • Tracey, wow, what a sweet review of this precious book. I love the illustrations. They remind me of illustrations from my childhood. I do want to hug that little guinea pig. Nice post. 
  • Tracey, this anthology is sure to be a hit. It looks so child-friendly. The illustrations are adorable and makes me want to cuddle with some stuffies (my husband is allergic to dogs and kittens so my children grew up with no animal friends. My grandgirls give their cuddles and love to their little animal stuffies. Thanks for reviewing Lee's anthology. 
    • It truly is child-friendly!  Aw, how sweet that stuffed animals can stand in when the real thing makes one sneeze!

      Edited on Friday, 09 February 2024 09:05 by Tracey.
  • Tracey, we are both singing praises for this collection today! I mean, come on, Lita Judge! So precious. I love your conclusion about giving our pets the freedom they need. Thank you. xo
  • Oh, Tracey, new to me, and what a special final gift from Lee for everyone. My daughter's family just said goodbye to a beloved cat of 20 years. They have many pets, but this one, Frank, touched all our family. Animals bring us joy and you have today by sharing this new book. Thank you!
  • Thanks for giving us a peek into this new anthology. Can't wait to see it!! Love B.J.'s box turtle poem -- we see quite a few of them in our driveway. Lita's art looks adorable too. 
  • What a lovely book!  My son just got a new sweet puppy and I've had fun watching a strong bond forming between them. Thank for the book recommendation. 
  • Thanks for this peek, Tracey - I plan on doing a wee review of this book sometime soon.  It's still hard to believe Lee is no longer with us, but I'm grateful so many of his treasures are alive and well - with new ones, too! What a precious collection. 

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