Last year, I worked on a project through Junior League and the Kansas Humane Society called Read to Rover. Its goal is to increase literacy in young children while encouraging them to interact with animals in a positive way. One of our projects was to help establish a library of books that the kids could choose to read with the therapy dogs. A lot of them were ordinary early reader books but my favorites included animal characters that could help further the Read to Rover mission.
One series I was introduced to was the Max Adventure books from Big Kid Science which feature the lovable rottweiler in outer space. Author Jeffrey Bennett is an astronomer, teacher and also the owner of the real Max who the books are based on. Using his expertise and charismatic pet, Bennett hopes to share his love of outer space with kids everywhere. It is obviously working because more than 100 kids submitted entries in the Summit School District (Colorado) "Make Your Own Max Science Adventure" contest. Bennett was so impressed by the winning entry that he decided to help publish Logan Weinman's Max's Ice Age Adventure!
There are three other books in the series: Max Goes to the Moon, Max Goes to Mars and Max Goes to Jupiter. If your kids love dogs and/or astronomy, they are a perfect gift!
Disclosure: Jeffrey Bennett donated signed copies of each book in the Max Adventure series to the Read to Rover program at the Kansas Humane Society. We read them at home before delivering them!