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Notes from the Dog Paperback – January 25, 2011


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Ember; Reprint edition (January 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375855424
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375855429
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #330,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–9—Fourteen-year-old Finn is terrified of meeting new people, and conversation is painful. His true friend, Matthew, is talkative, overly confident, and sometimes a thorn in his side. The boy is content with books and Dylan, his canine companion. He's determined that his summer vacation will not be marred by the intrusion of people, and thus, the discomfort they cause him. Then he meets his pretty new neighbor, 24-year-old Johanna, who shares her joy of life with Finn and Matthew and employs Finn to help her create gardens in his sorrowful-looking backyard. Johanna's enthusiasm for research, compost, fertilizer, and all things garden break down Finn's barriers. When she tells the boys that she is a breast-cancer survivor, their initial trepidation shifts to friendship. As she trains for a triathlon to raise money for cancer awareness, Finn and Matthew join her team. Right before the race, more adverse reactions to chemotherapy thwart her run, and the two boys take up the torch. Johanna's spirit and optimism infuse Finn with courage and love, and he finds his voice. Paulsen's fans may miss his trademarks: the notorious exploits of boys, the page-turning wilderness adventures, or the sled dogs that often take center stage. Yet this candid and tender tale, told with his signature humor, is a salute to the bravest of the brave.—Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY END --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

GARY PAULSEN is the distinguished author of many critically acclaimed books for young people. His most recent books are Lawn Boy Returns, Woods Runner, Notes from the Dog, Mudshark, Lawn Boy, Molly McGinty Has a Really Good Day, The Time Hackers, and The Amazing Life of Birds (The Twenty Day Puberty Journal of Duane Homer Leech).

More About the Author

Gary Paulsen is one of the most honored writers of contemporary literature for young readers. He has written more than one hundred book for adults and young readers, and is the author of three Newberry Honor titles: Dogsong, Hatchet, and The Winter Room. He divides his time among Alaska, New Mexico, Minnesota, and the Pacific.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#68 in Books > Teens
#68 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 22 customer reviews
Finn realizes he really can connect with people and make a true friend.
Carol Rodenbucher
I highly recommend this novel not only to middle grade kids, but to anyone who loves a good story.
Julie Peterson
The characters where real and had an amazing amount a depth for such a short story.
Cyrena Kellogg

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Julie Peterson on August 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I read NOTES FROM THE DOG by Gary Paulsen over a month ago and for some reason I have put off writing my review. I'm not exactly sure why I've procrastinated for so long (it really isn't like me), but I am worried that I won't be able to express how much I appreciated this book. I also desperately wanted Booking Daughter to read it so I could get her input. I have a feeling that it's one of those middle grade books that ended up affecting me much more than it did her. I both laughed and cried as I read this story; and I didn't want the book to end.

One reason that I enjoyed this book so much was that I absolutely loved Finn, the 14 year-old narrator of this story. At the beginning of the book, he is a major introvert who is just trying to get through the summer with the least amount of interaction with people. My heart went out to him at times because of his insecurities, yet I also thought he was wise beyond his years at times. I thought the author did a wonderful job creating Finn's voice, and I loved the Finn's humor and insights into life. He was an extremely memorable character to me, and you couldn't help but root for him to come out of his shell.

Another character that I adored was Finn's neighbor Johanna. Johanna was a young woman who dealing with breast cancer. Not only did I find her battle with cancer to be inspiring (she had so much hope and strength), but I absolutely loved what she did for Finn. By getting Finn focused on creating a garden, she taught him so many wonderful life lessons. Without Johanna in his life, I'm not sure what would have become of Finn!

I don't know what rock I've been living under, but I've never read any books by Mr. Paulsen before.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Pea 'where's my aspirin' Tee TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
For me the definition of a good writer is someone who can take a cliche, predictable story, and make me cry like a babe anyway.

"Notes From the Dog" is just such a book. And Paulsen had me with tears streaming down my cheeks. Sometimes from laughing so hard, and sometimes in sympathy with the characters pain and anguish.

No doubt, the story won't hit everyone that way. But I really loved this simply told story of two 14 year-old boys, and the young college girl they come to love and support as she battles cancer.

Talking Points:::
AR (accelerated reading) level 4.7

This is a sweet story for Middle-schoolers (even Tweeners) on Up.
(OK, it's not for grumpy adults)

a mini-review
(pam ex booksforkids-reviews)
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on October 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Gary Paulsen's NOTES FROM THE DOG tells of teen Finn, a loner living with his father and his dog Dylan. His growing friendship with a 20-year-old girl next door and his involvement with her struggles with breast cancer make for an unusual coming of age story: poignant, funny and different.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By L. M. B. on April 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
It's hard to find a 12 year old who has not read Hatchet. However, I find that those same kids have not heard of the books I especially enjoyed from Gary Paulsen, like Harris and Me and Cookcamp and now I can add this title. The story is about a boy who wants nothing to do with other people, because he is a miserable failure at relationships of almost any kind. He meets a woman who has cancer, and things begin to change. She is one of those characters we all wish were real people. She sees something in the boy, draws him out, and leaves him a better person for having known her. It sounds silly and trite, but wasn't. Then, there is the dog. He is the ultimate in judging character and giving comfort, of course. She sends notes to the boy through the dog. He knows the notes are from her. They don't discuss the notes. Yet, they bolster the boy's confidence and sense of himself. A quick read for an adolescent. A boy or girl would be able to appreciate the story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Karen Keyte VINE VOICE on January 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Fourteen-year-old Finn Duffy is not big on people. "It's not that I don't like people," Finn muses, "but they make me uncomfortable. I feel like an alien dropped onto a strange planet and that I always have to be on the lookout for clues and cues on how to act and what to say."

After spending the school year in forced interactions with hundreds of other people, Finn plans to spend his summer with his Dad, his friend Matthew, and his fabulous dog Dylan. If all goes well, he'll be reading all day every day and speak to no more than a dozen different people during the whole summer vacation.

Finn's plans evaporate as soon as he and Matthew meet his new neighbor, Johanna. Johanna is a graduate student and, at only twenty-three, she's battling breast cancer. Johanna hires Finn to build her a garden and she becomes a true friend to both him and Matthew. The two boys become involved with Johanna's fund-raising efforts on behalf of breast cancer research and over the course of the summer, Finn discovers that he has a talent for connecting with people after all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pop Bop TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
I appreciate that writers struggle with the task of writing a book that is touching or moving or emotionally powerful for younger readers. I think one of the problems is that since younger reader's life experiences can be fairly limited, the author feels the need to oversell the emotion, to make everything powerful and compelling and overdescribed and, ultimately, overwrought. That's not true for everyone, of course, but it is pretty common.

The beauty of this book is that Paulsen is naturally and comfortably understated in all of his novels. So, even in a sad and touching book like this his restraint is present. And since this is the type of story that only works when told with restraint, it just naturally works for Paulsen. As a result, this is a wonderful book with which to introduce you young reader to serious writing about serious themes. (I think it's like Spinelli's books that way.)
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