Review: Ellie’s Story by W. Bruce Cameron

ellie's story by w. bruce cameron

Ellie’s Story is a heartwarming illustrated novel adapted for young readers from the beloved and New York Times bestselling A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron.

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.

Ellie’s Story is an inspiring tale for young animal lovers. 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.

Description taken from Goodreads.


I loved A DOG’S PURPOSE (by the same author), and I really wanted to see how a similar story targeted at a younger audience would pan out. ELLIE’S STORY is written in a younger tone, and it’s definitely W. Bruce Cameron’s style, but I didn’t like this book as much as A DOG’S PURPOSE.

All things considered, I would probably end up recommending A DOG’S PURPOSE over ELLIE’S STORY. It is a lot more complex, but there are very similar themes and I thought that A DOG’S PURPOSE was written better. There were lots of elements to this story that I really enjoyed, the least of which being the whole search-and-rescue premise. That was really cool to read about, especially from a dog’s perspective.

Another great aspect of ELLIE’S STORY was Ellie’s whole journey. I liked getting to watch her grow up and learn more about what she gets trained to do.

Where ELLIE’S STORY fell through was also in the dog’s perspective. There are many great books that are narrated by dogs, but this book is one that isn’t one of them. There are many cliché parts to this story, such as the opening scene where you can find similar elements to that of Ann M. Martin’s A DOG’S LIFE and Garth Stein’s RACING IN THE RAIN. Overall, the voice of the narrator felt really young, like it was written to be children’s lit.

For younger kids, I would definitely recommend taking a look at this book. The plot is entertaining and educational. For anyone older than ten or eleven, I would recommend the preceding books in this series. 2.5 stars.

pg count for the hardback: 208

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