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Everything for a Dog Hardcover – September 1, 2009

39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4–6—This parallel novel to Martin's A Dog's Life (Scholastic, 2005), about a stray named Squirrel, tells the tale of Squirrel's brother and his search for a home. Unlike Dog's Life, only part of the story is told from Bone's perspective. Instead, it is also narrated by Henry, a boy desperately in want of a dog; and Charlie, who is dealing with the aftermath of his brother's recent death. Though it follows the standard "boy and his dog" story line, Martin's gentle tale also touches upon growing up, facing hardship, and the importance of companionship, no matter its form. The interconnected stories, told in alternating chapters, are thoughtfully written and crafted to a satisfying convergence. This is a touching and ultimately happy story that will appeal to fans of Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Shiloh (S & S, 1991) and Fred Gipson's Old Yeller (HarperCollins, 1942), as well as to a wider audience.—Nicole Waskie, Chenango Forks Elementary, Binghamton, NY END


Animal lovers of all ages will cherish this moving tale of man's--or in this case, boy's--best friend. (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

Martin's book honors the unique companionship and healing powers that have earned dogs the title of man's best friend, and it will resonate with both the reader who is already a dog owner or who, like Henry, pines to be one. (Shelf Awareness)

[Martin] artfully alternates and gradually weaves together threads from the canine and human tales until the three stories converge in time anad space into a completely heartwarming and satisfying finale. Essential fare for fans of the perfectly crafted canine tale. (Kirkus, starred review)

This is a sensitive, gentle read that surrounds its occasional heartbreak with plenty of hope and warm feelings. (Booklist)

It is clear that Martin is not writing a conventional dog story but a serious and very fine book about life, death, and the need to keep going in order to find joy again, whether one is a human or a dog. (Horn Book Review)

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 890L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Feiwel & Friends; First Edition edition (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312386516
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312386511
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #727,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Ann M. Martin is the bestselling author of the momentous series The Baby-sitters Club, as well as the Main Street series. Her other acclaimed novels include "A Dog's Life," "Belle Teal," "Here Today," and the Newbery Honor Book "A Corner of the Universe." She lives in upstate New York. For more information, visit www.scholastic.com/bsc.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Krista Richards Mann on October 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I read this book aloud to my children. It took us a few chapters to get accustomed to the format of alternating stories, but in time we enjoyed following the characters through the chapters. We adore dogs and our lives have been changed by one very special little beast. But, I have to say that young adult fiction can often be more intense than the stories written for adults. In the first several chapters so much happens, dogs mothers die, they are abandoned in mall parking lots, a young boy's older brother dies while trying to rescue his kite. It's all quite a lot, which isn't to say it's too much. It's just quite a lot. I'm not asking for cheer and sugarplums, but, I was sniffling every night and waiting, hoping for a happy place to end inciting sweet dreams for us all. It is a cleverly arranged story and one that I think most children can handle, but as for their weepy parents, I'm uncertain. I do believe that YA literature puts more at stake earlier on. Perhaps it is to capture the reader's emotions and to pull them into the story. I had every intention of reading my favorite children's novels to my own children (and do). But, I find them to be old-fashioned. The language calls attention to itself and as children's roles in our culture have changed and the way we treat them has evolved so too have their stories. A fifty year old book for grown-ups holds true. Older children's lit seems to shrink a bit. It's a pity, in some ways, but their world changes so quickly. Books such as "Everything for a Dog" speak to today's children. My own agreed it was sad but were more able to manage their need for comfort than I was. That's what I get for being raised on fairy tales and Beatrix Potter.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Joy Fandrich on November 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I loved A Dog's Life, the prequel to this book, so I was so excited to see the story of Squirrel. One couldn't help but want to know what happened to him after reading the first book. The story isn't as detailed in this book, so you don't fall as much in love with the dog character. This book is told from 3 different characters perspectives:
- Charlie, whose older brother just died
- Henry, who wants a dog more than anything in life
- Squirrel, a stray dog just making his way in life trying not to starve
I couldn't for the life of me figure out how these characters were going to connect, but oh boy you're in for a terrific surprise when you do. Everything for a Dog is a short, quick, easy read but still manages to pull on your heartstrings and make you cheer!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Whatcha Reading Now? on March 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book warms the reader with the purest sense of love--a love between a kid and a dog. In this sequel to A Dog's Life, we are submerged in a story told in three, alternating points of view.
The first is of Bone, an abandon dog, who after living with three different families--if only briefly--wanders the countryside season after season, picking food from garbage piles and searching for a permanent home. The second point of view is of a boy named Charlie who is struggling to find normalcy after his older brother dies. Seeking comfort in his dog Sunny, Charlie waits for the day his mom returns, dad stops hiding behind his work, and they become a family again. But, when Sunny is accidentally shot and killed by a hunter, Charlie's world is once again turned upside down. Finally, we meet Henry, a boy who year after year asks for a dog and everything for a dog on his Christmas list. He tries, unsuccessfully, to convince his parents that he's responsible enough to care for one. His heart aches with a hole that will only be filled by a furry friend.

I raced to the end of this book, desperate to find out how the three storylines would be tied together. Readers will not be disappointed to find that sometimes, love overcomes grief and opening your heart again will bring happiness despite past tragedies.
-- Reviewed by Kerry O'Malley Cerra
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By elanorh on May 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I read this aloud to my daughter, who really enjoys chapter books at bedtime. I was afraid she would be really upset about all the sadness in the book (we discussed that before we checked it out at the library). However, she wasn't nearly as upset as I was, as we read the sad parts. I think I spent 1/3 of the book in tears. ;) But I'm a sap ....

I would warn, though, that if you or your family hunts or supports hunting, this book will need some serious discussion during and after reading the book. The hunting and hunters mentioned in this book are presented in a very negative light, and as if the egregious behaviors described are what all hunters do. As someone who grew up hunting and in a hunting family, I realize that some hunters are this way - but most aren't. Obviously not everyone hunts, and certainly there are those who will disagree with me (and might seek this book out FOR that negative portrayal of hunters). However, if you are neutral or supportive of hunting, be aware of this subtext.

My daughter initiated the discussion by telling me that the hunter shouldn't have been on the family's property, trespassing; he should have asked permission if he wanted to hunt there. Then we talked about how dangerous and wrong it is for anyone to shoot at something unless they know for certain what it is (and that it's OK to shoot). Again, there are awful 'hunters' out there like that, but that her Grandpas and her aunts and uncles are not that way, and don't tolerate people who behave that way either.

Overall it's really well-written, and I enjoyed the character arcs, and my daughter enjoyed them too. I just wish the author hadn't been quite so heavy-handed with her personal opinions about hunting and hunters.
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