Ellie's Story (A Dog's Purpose Puppy Tales Series)

Ellie's Story (A Dog's Purpose Puppy Tales Series)

by W. Bruce Cameron
Ellie's Story (A Dog's Purpose Puppy Tales Series)

Ellie's Story (A Dog's Purpose Puppy Tales Series)

by W. Bruce Cameron


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Now in paperback! Ellie's Story is a heartwarming illustrated novel for young readers inspired by the New York Times bestselling A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron.

Every dog has work to do. Every dog has a purpose.

Ellie is a very special dog with a very important purpose. From puppyhood, Ellie has been trained as a search-and-rescue dog. She can track down a lost child in a forest or an injured victim under a fallen building. She finds people. She saves them. It's what she was meant to do.

But Ellie must do more. Her handlers—widowed Jakob, lonely Maya—need her too. People can be lost in many ways, and to do the job she was born to do, Ellie needs to find a way to save the people she loves best.

Adorable black-and-white illustrations by Richard Cowdrey bring Ellie and her world to life. A discussion and activity guide at the end of the book will help promote family and classroom discussions about Ellie's Story and the insights it provides about humankind's best friends.

Winner of the 2017 Colorado Children's Book Award for Junior Novel and the Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award

Read all the books in the bestselling series:
Ellie's Story
Bailey's Story
Lily's Story
Molly's Story
Max's Story
Shelby's Story
Toby's Story

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250259554
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 04/30/2019
Series: Dog's Purpose Puppy Tales Series
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

About The Author
W. BRUCE CAMERON is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of A Dog’s Purpose, A Dog’s Journey, A Dog’s Way Home (all now major motion pictures), The Dog Master, Ellie's Story, Molly’s Story, Max’s Story, Shelby’s Story, The Dogs of Christmas, The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man, and others. He lives in California.

Reading Group Guide

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Take the story from the page to the pavement with these fun and inspiring activities for the dog lovers in your family.

MAKE A “DOGS ARE AWESOME” POSTER. Inspired by the story, have children draw, paint, or glue magazine clippings, printed images found via parent-supervised web searches, or other visual art material onto a large sheet of cardboard or foam core. The poster may include images of dogs playing with people, dogs at work, even dogs in cartoons. Mount the finished work in a place of prominence in your home.

TRY AN OBSTACLE COURSE. As part of her training, Jakob takes Ellie through an agility course. Design an obstacle course for people. Choose a space in your backyard or nearby park. Stations might include running between traffic cones, jumping rope, or tunneling under a picnic blanket. Make signs explaining what course runners should do at each station. Be creative! Invite friends or neighbors to try the course. Consider a “parents-vs-kids” race or other fun challenge on the course.

MAKE A LEARNING LIST. Based on information from the book, collaborate with your child on a list of important “dos” for dog ownership and care. Consider listing things to look for in choosing a puppy, best practices for training young dogs, and ways to keep a growing dog feeling happy and purposeful.

TALK LIKE A DOG. Ellie’s Story is narrated in first person by Ellie the German Shepherd. This helps readers understand the dog’s point-of-view and is also a model for helping children see other people’s and animals’ perspectives. Invite your child to describe, using “I,” a few minutes in the life of his or her own pet. Or, invite your child to describe how you, a sibling, or another family member might understand the child’s actions in an exciting or confusing situation.

HELP OUT. Learn more about the work of search-and-rescue dogs at SARDUS (http://www.sardogsus.org/index.html), find out how dogs help with literacy through the R.E.A.D. program (http://therapyanimals.org/Contact_Us.html), visit your local ASPCA, or seek out other dog-friendly organizations in your community. Make a family plan to donate 2-4 hours (or more) supporting the great work of dogs.

WRITING activities
These Common Core–aligned writing activities may be used in conjunction with the discussion questions in the “Family” section above.

Ellie’s Story is narrated by Ellie, the German Shepherd. How does the author’s sensory descriptions (sound, sight, taste, touch, and smell) help readers connect with the dog’s viewpoint? What other techniques does the author use to create a believable dog’s voice for the narrative?

Communities and Relationships:
Using clues from the tale and your imagination, write a short biography for Jakob or Maya. What lead them to join the police force? Where did they discover their love for animals? What critical life experiences did they have just before meeting Ellie? What do you imagine for their future?

Text Type: Opinion Piece.
Write a one-page essay explaining why you think Jakob made a good choice in choosing Ellie as the best possible rescue dog from her litter.

Text Type: Narrative.
In the character of Maya, write several journal entries describing your dreams, doubts about, and plans to become Ellie’s new handler.

Research & Present: El Salvadoran Earthquakes.
Go to the library or online to learn more about the devastating earthquakes that hit El Salvador in 2001, and the role of rescue dogs in helping with recovery efforts. Use your research to create a PowerPoint or other multi-media style presentation to share with friends or classmates.

Research & Present: Rescue Dogs.
Go online to learn more about search-and-rescue dogs. (Hint: Begin your research at http://www.sardogsus.org/index.html.) Create an informative booklet that describes the training, the types of rescues dogs can accomplish, and other facts. If possible, make copies of your booklet to distribute to others in your school or community.

Supports English Language Arts Common Core Writing Standards: W.3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.7; W.4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.7; W.5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.7; W.6.2, 6.3, 6.7; W.7.2, 7.3, 7.7

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Discussion Questions
Help your young reader get excited about this book by exploring key words and ideas from the story. This will help strengthen the connections children make as they begin to read.

This book is titled Ellie’s Story. What is a “purpose”? What types of roles do dogs play in your community? What do you think is a dog’s most important role?

What books have you read about dogs? Describe your favorite dog book, noting whether it was fiction or non-fiction, and what you liked best about the story.

Have you ever tried to train a dog or other pet? If so, what was the most surprising or challenging thing you learned about this process? If not, would you like to try dog training and what kind of dog (or other animal) might you like to train?

Discussion Questions
Some or all of the questions below may help launch family conversations or be useful preparation for the activities that follow.

Who narrates Ellie’s Story? Were you surprised when you realized the identity of the narrator? Why or why not?

In Chapter One, Jakob chooses Ellie from a litter of German Shepherds. What are some of the key qualities he appreciates her?

What is “Work” to Ellie? Describe the steps Jakob takes to teach Ellie to understand “Work” and, later, “Find.” How is “Play” a very important part of Ellie’s training process? Is play important for people, too? Explain your answer.

How does Jakob help Ellie conquer her fear of water? What rescue described in the story requires Ellie to deal with water? How does Ellie use her sense of smell to find a bad guy?

What actions does Ellie take in the story that show she is an extraordinary rescue dog?

Why does Ellie have to leave Jakob and go to live with Maya? How does she react to this transition? How is Ellie’s understanding of the change similar to, and different from, the way a human understands such events?

What challenges does Maya face as she works to become Ellie’s handler?

Ellie describes the different ways she is loved by Jakob, Maya, and other characters. Do these descriptions help to better understand the relationships your dog (or dogs you know) has with you and other members of your community? Explain your answer.

List some key search-and-rescue missions Ellie undertakes before the trip to El Salvador. What makes searching through the earthquake rubble in El Salvador so different from her police work in the United States? How does Maya realize this and find a way to help Ellie with this new work?

Why can’t Ellie return to “Work” after El Salvador? What does she do instead? What happens when Ellie and Jakob are reunited in the last chapter of the story? How did you feel when Jakob told Ellie, “you’re a good dog”?

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