Pets In Books: A Lerner Retrospective

by Danielle Carnito, Trade Art Director

Hello readers! I was originally asked to do a post on design trends in Lerner books over the years… which, having been here for a while and being an Art Director, totally makes sense. But somehow I got the Blog powers that be to agree to, instead, a post about how some of our pets over the years have made it into the books we publish.

Because really, wouldn’t you really rather look at cute animal pictures than that really bad era of “How Many Gradients And Effects Can You Use On A Cover Because Indesign Just Made It SO Easy To Do.” For example:


Luckily, a lot of the series of THAT era have been redesigned by now.

Back to pets. Do we work our pets into books when we can as long as the image works within context? OF COURSE. Who wouldn’t want to immortalize their pet friends in a book! So today, here, for your internet cute animal picture break needs, is a selection of some of our pet friends who have made appearances in books over the years.

Most recently, we have designer Viet’s cat friend Boba, who had the right sort of animal adaptation to be paired with a page of text in our upcoming title Small Matters (coming from Millbrook next spring):Small Matters The Hidden Power of the Unseen

Trade Trafficking Manager Erica’s family friend’s dachshund Toby (who they used to spend all summer with at their cabin) in our Lerner title Dachshunds are the Best!:


Associate Art Director Emily’s family corgi Reggie in our Lightning Bolt Book / Pembroke Welsh Corgis. Along with Customer Service Rep Steve’s little Dee on the copyright page:

Pembroke Welsh Corgis

Pembroke Welsh Corgis

Past Production Editor Jen worked both her daughter AND their cat Butters into a First Step Nonfiction title Let’s Make a Bar Graph (a book about a classroom learning to how to make a bar graph—about their pets):

Let's Make a Bar Graph

Our founder Harry’s granddog Dunkin stars in another First Step called How I Care for My Pet:


Have I worked my own pet friend into a book? OF COURSE. Here is my boy Misha, the fuzzy gray cat on top, along with past Production Editor Jessica’s dog San, showing us their “please take care of us” faces in our Disasters Up Close Hurricanes book from 2007. Neither Misha nor San were ever in a hurricane, but both lived through many a tornado warning in their time in the Midwest:Misha and San.jpg

And it’s not just employees who work their pets into books. Illustrator Marlena Myles worked the fantastic Ollie into one of her illustrations for our book Thanku: Poems of Gratitude:Thanku

Illustrator Nicole Xu put both her dog Rami and author Chris Barton’s dog Ernie in one of the illustrations for our upcoming book All Of A Sudden and Forever (coming from Carolrhoda next spring), a picture book with themes of recovery and growth after a disaster—showing that our pets are really more than just cute & fuzzy— they can be an important part of healing too:

All of a Sudden and Forever: Help and Healing after the Oklahoma

There are likely more, but I’ll stop here for now. Cute animal break over, I must go back to regularly scheduled Art Directing and Designing. May you also have enjoyed this little internet cute animal picture search in your day (that totally has to do with work!).

*some animals here featured may just have their own Instagram accounts. But I’ll leave you to find those on your own. Happy searching.

More posts by Danielle.

One thought on “Pets In Books: A Lerner Retrospective

  1. susandilldetwiler

    I enjoyed this post very much, because I have put my dogs into my picture book illustrations from time to time. In One Wolf Howls, I used my German shepherd Molly as a model because she was pretty darned close to looking like a wolf. And my illustrations for Bat Count include my dog Penny, a shepherd mix, because the happy family in the story was more complete with a dog.

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