Bailey's Story: A Dog's Purpose Novel

Bailey's Story: A Dog's Purpose Novel

5.0 10
by W. Bruce Cameron

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From W. Bruce Cameron, the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling novel A Dog's Purpose, which is now a major motion picture!

Bailey'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.


From W. Bruce Cameron, the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling novel A Dog's Purpose, which is now a major motion picture!

Bailey'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.

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

When Bailey meets eight-year-old Ethan, he quickly figures out his purpose: to play with the boy, to explore the Farm during summers with the boy, and to tidy the boy's dishes by licking them clean (only when Mom isn't watching). But Bailey soon learns that life isn't always so simple--that sometimes bad things happen--and that there can be no greater purpose than to protect the boy he loves.

Bailey's Story is a moving tale about a dog and his boy for young animal lovers by W. Bruce Cameron, bestselling author of the acclaimed novel A Dog's Purpose. Adorable black-and-white illustrations by Richard Cowdrey bring Bailey and his world to life. A discussion and activity guide at the end of the book will help promote family and classroom discussions about Bailey's Story and the insights it provides about humankind's best friends.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA, June 2016 (Vol. 39, No. 2) - Jennifer Baker
Bailey, a golden retriever puppy, knows there is more to life than the cage in which he was born. His master brings his mother food but will not let them play in the grass and explore. One day, Bailey escapes and travels to find his purpose. He meets a variety of people (not all of them good) before he meets Ethan, who quickly becomes “his boy.” At first, Bailey believes his purpose to be to play with Ethan and make him happy, but as Ethan grows up, Bailey discovers that his true purpose is to protect his boy from the complex world around them. It is often said that dogs are man’s best friend, and this book proves it as readers experience life as a dog through Bailey’s narration. Middle-grade students who love animals will enjoy Bailey’s character. He is playful and innocent, not understanding the finer details of potty training, for example, but also loyal and caring. Readers will laugh out loud at his antics and feel tears in their eyes at the way Bailey worries about Ethan. The simple black-and-white illustrations capture the feeling of Bailey’s journey to discover his true purpose in life. At times, the action moves a bit slowly, so an interest in animals is a must for any reader of this novel. Overall, this is a very heartwarming story. Reviewer: Jennifer Baker; Ages 11 to 14.
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—A heartwarming illustrated novel adapted for young readers from the best-selling A Dog's Purpose. Bailey, a golden retriever, narrates the story. Sensing that puppies are meant to leave their mothers and that there is something on the other side of the gate that he was born to find, Bailey leaves his dog family and soon meets Ethan ("I hadn't known that there was such a thing as a boy in the world. But now that I'd found one, I was sure that there could not be anything better."). Bailey is determined to be with the boy he loves. He learns that sometimes bad things happen and there is no greater purpose than to protect the boy he loves. This is a touching book about the connection dogs have with humans and how they communicate in their own special way. Black-and-white illustrations bring Bailey and his world to life. Discussion and activity guides are included, which will help promote conversations about Bailey's tale and the insights it provides about humankind's best friend. VERDICT A must-read for animal lovers.—Paula Huddy, The Blake School-Highcroft Campus, Wayzata, MN
Children's Literature - Tina Chan
The story between Ethan and his dog Bailey is told from Bailey’s point of view. It takes place over a ten-year span, starting when Ethan is an eight-year-old, but skips every few years, ending when Ethan is in college. Bailey wants to go everywhere with his best friend, but realizes that is not always possible. However, Bailey goes with Ethan’s family to the farm during the summers to visit Ethan’s grandparents; and Bailey and Ethan visit Ethan’s friends, including his girlfriend Hannah. Bailey also wants to protect Ethan, whether in the water, when they are lost for a few days, or from neighborhood bully Todd. Their friendship is tested when tragedy strikes Ethan’s family and Bailey must protect his best friend. Through this heartwarming story about a dog’s unconditional love for his best friend, readers learn about life from a dog’s perspective. They learn that dogs understand human language, emotions, and behavior; and, although dogs cannot speak, they communicate in other ways. Readers also learn the relationships dogs have with animals, including cats, horses, and other dogs. Black-and-white illustrations are included to supplement the story. Reviewer: Tina Chan; Ages 8 to 12.

Product Details

Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)
720L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Bailey's Story

A Dog's Purpose Novel

By W. Bruce Cameron, Richard Cowdrey

Tom Doherty Associates

Copyright © 2016 W. Bruce Cameron
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7653-8842-1


One day it occurred to me that the warm, squeaky, smelly things squirming around next to me were my brothers and sisters. I was very disappointed.

For a little while now, I had been pushing and shoving those wiggling objects aside so that I could get at my mother's furry warmth and her rich, delicious milk. So those things that had been getting in the way of my food were other puppies like me!

I blinked up at my mother, silently asking her to please get rid of the rest. I wanted her all to myself.

But she didn't. It seemed that my brothers and sisters were here to stay.

In that case, I decided, I was going to be the one in charge. But my littermates didn't seem to understand. I'd try to grab one by the back of the neck, and two or three others would jump on top of me. By the time I'd shaken them off, the pup I'd been trying to teach a lesson to would be wrestling with someone else. If I tried a menacing growl, all my brothers and sisters just growled joyously back.

So irritating.

When I wasn't trying to make my littermates understand how the world worked, I'd explore a little. From the first, I could hear a lot of barking, and I smelled other dogs nearby. When I crawled out of a pile of siblings to see what I could see, the surface beneath my paws was rough and hard, and after a few steps my nose bumped into a wire fence. I was in a cage with a cement floor.

On the other side of the wire there were more puppies. These were not blond with dark eyes, like my siblings and my mother and me. They were tiny, energetic little guys with dark markings and hair that stuck up all over the place. They looked like they might be fun to play with, but that wire was between us.

When I turned around to look at the cage on the opposite side, I saw a female dog, white with black spots. Her belly hung down near the floor, and she moved slowly. She gave me one glance but didn't seem very interested.

On a third side of the cage there was a door. I'd noticed that door before. Every day a man would come by with a bowl of food for my mother, and he'd open the door and put the food in. She would get to her feet, shake off a puppy or two, and gulp her meal down, coming back to us as quickly as she could.

This was the first time I had taken a close look at what was beyond that door. Grass. A long strip of lawn that teased my nose with the smells of moist earth and growing things. Around the lawn was a wooden fence.

It was all a lot to take in. I stumbled back to my mother and settled down for a nap on top of two sisters.

The next day, when the man came by, I was paying attention. He had a bowl of food in one hand and a piece of paper in the other, and he was frowning at it.

"Yorkshire terriers, week or so," he said, looking in the cage next door, the one with the puppies. Then he stopped in front of our cage and peered inside it. "Golden retrievers, probably three weeks yet, and got a dalmatian ready to pop any day."

I could tell that he was not saying those words to any of the dogs. He never spoke to us. Quickly, he opened the door of our cage. I trotted over, eager to see what that green grass might feel like under my feet. But the man pushed me aside with a grunt, not very roughly, but not gently either. He put the bowl down in front of my mother.

Then he swung the door shut.

I tried to get a taste of what was in that bowl, but my mother nudged me away with her nose. It didn't smell as nice as milk, anyway. The man moved on, coming back with more bowls in his hands. He put the bowls of food down in the grass and went to the cage on our right. He opened the door, and then he did something that surprised me — he left it open! The puppies with the wiry fur — terriers, the man had called them — tumbled out onto the grass.

"No, not you," the man said to their mother, pushing her back from the door the way he had pushed me.

I watched jealously as those little fur balls romped all over the grass. Their mother whimpered quietly behind her closed door. The man walked away, leaving the yard by a gate in the wooden fence while the puppies rolled on the grass and bit it and barked at it. One peed on it, and then everybody else of course had to sniff that spot carefully.

Then one of the puppies discovered a bowl of food by falling face-first into it. He came up with a snort, licked sticky brown glop from his nose, and fell in again. All of his brothers and sisters crowded around and did the same thing.

After the food was gone, the puppies came over to our cage door to sniff us. I licked at the leftover food on their faces while one of my brothers stood on my head. Then they left us to run up and down the grass, barking, tripping, getting back up. I saw that there were more cages to the left and to the right. The puppies raced up and down, sniffing the noses of every dog they could reach.

I wished I could be out there with them. I had explored as much as I could inside our little cage, with its smells of mother and puppies, food and milk. I was ready for more.

When the man came back into the yard, he left the gate open behind him. I could see a tiny sliver of blue sky, green trees, and dark roadway beyond. Longing seized me. There was something out there for me — I knew it. Something important. Something that I needed. If I were ever running free in the grass, I would head right out that open gate. I couldn't understand why the terrier puppies didn't, but they were all too busy wrestling.

The man scooped up two puppies, one in each hand, and carried them out through the gate. He made two more trips for the rest. And then they were gone.

The yard was suddenly awfully quiet without all of their tiny, high-pitched barks. Their mother put her paws up on the gate and cried. Then she dropped down to pace back and forth.

The man came by her cage and looked at her, but he didn't call out to her, didn't speak to her, didn't reach inside to touch her. Somehow I knew that he could have done those things, and that it would have helped to ease her unhappiness. But he didn't. He just turned and walked away.

The sadness of the mother in the cage next door made me sad as well. I burrowed back into the pack of my brothers and sisters, safe against my own mother's warm side.

But the thought of that gate into the outside world did not leave me. When our turn came to be let out onto the green grass, some days later, I was ready.

The man set down bowls of food for us, just as he'd done for the terriers, and he opened the gate to our cage. We rushed out onto the grass. Two sisters walked right over my head to get at the food bowls. I pushed my way between them and ate my fill. It was delicious, and it felt so satisfying to chew something solid instead of sucking milk.

When my stomach was full, I lifted my head from the bowl and looked around me.

Everything was wonderfully moist and full of smells. The grass was succulent. The earth underneath it was rich and dark. I scratched up a little and stuck my nose right into it. Then I sneezed and shook my head to get the dirt off. I trotted over to the dalmatian's cage, and her brand-new puppies staggered over to their door to touch noses with me, just as I had touched noses with the terrier puppies not long ago.

After I greeted the younger dogs, I stepped away and lifted my nose higher. Even the air smelled full of possibilities. I smelled a lot of water, somewhere, more than I'd ever seen or smelled in a bowl. I smelled other dogs, and different animals, too: a squirrel that chattered on top of the fence, another animal — bigger, heavier, smellier — that had passed by outside the fence a few nights ago.

The man walked by me and opened the door of our cage to let my mother out. My brothers and sisters all rushed over to her, but I'd found a dead worm beneath my feet, and for the moment that was much more interesting.

The man left again, banging the gate shut behind him.

The gate ...

My gaze focused on the doorknob.

There was a wooden table along the fence next to the gate, with a stool in front of it. I trotted over. The stool was low enough for me to claw my way up onto it. From there, it was only a quick jump-and-scramble to the top of the table.

There were empty food bowls on the table and a bag that smelled quite interesting. If my stomach had not been full, I might have been content to chew that bag open and munch on whatever was inside. But for the moment I had another interest.

I remembered how the man had put his hand on the metal doorknob, turned it, and pushed. Then the gate had opened.

Could I do something like that?

The doorknob was not round; it was a thin strip of metal. My tiny teeth were not much use for getting a grip on the thing, but I did my best. I bit hard and tugged and twisted my neck. Nothing happened except that I lost my balance and tumbled to the ground.

I sat up and barked at the gate in frustration. That didn't help either. My brothers and sisters raced over to jump on me, but I turned away from them. I wasn't in the mood to play.

I had something important to do.

I tried again, clambering onto the table and grabbing the knob with my teeth. This time I put my front paws up on the handle to keep myself from falling down, and to my surprise, the handle fell away beneath me. I slipped, and my whole body hit the lever on my way down. I thumped to the grass and looked up in surprise.

The gate was open!

Not very wide, certainly, but when I shoved my nose into the gap and pushed, it swung wider. I was free!

Eagerly, I trotted out, my little legs tripping over themselves. A path lay right before me, two thin, parallel tracks worn into the dirt. This must be the way I should go.

But I turned back and looked at the gate. My mother was sitting just inside the open door, watching me.

She wouldn't be coming with me, I realized. She was going to stay inside the yard. I was on my own.

I thought about running back to her, snuggling into her warm side, getting a lick from her strong tongue. But I didn't.

Somehow I knew that puppies were meant to leave their mothers. It might be sad for both of them, but it was the way things were supposed to be. If I didn't leave her now, the man would come and carry me away from her, just as he had done to the terrier puppies.

And anyway, I knew deep inside that there was something on this side of the gate that I was meant to find. Or someone. There were other people in the world, I felt sure, and they would not all be like the man who'd fed us and opened our cage.

Somewhere in the world there were kind hands and gentle voices. And it was my job to hunt them out.

I set out in the world to do what I was supposed to do.


The dirt track under my feet was incredible! It smelled of rubber tires, and of all the animals who had crossed it, and of damp rain from a few nights ago. I trotted along it happily, my short tail wagging. I snapped at a dragonfly that whizzed in front of me. I tromped through a puddle. I found a fantastic stick and dragged it with me until my neck started to hurt. Then I dropped it and dashed forward because I'd smelled something new. An empty cup! No, not empty. There was something sticky and sweet left inside it. I licked it carefully clean. Then I kept going.

After a while, the dirt track led me to a road of stuff that was as hard underfoot as the concrete inside my cage. I sniffed it and patted it gingerly with one paw. Then I decided to follow it, mostly because by doing that I'd head straight into the wind, which was bringing me wonderful new smells every second. Damp, rotting leaves! Trees! Pools of water! Squirrels! Mice! Worms!

Full of excitement, I set off on my adventure, but stopped. Something was quivering in a clump of leaves ahead of me.

Carefully, I stalked the moving thing, creeping closer and closer. Then whatever it was exploded right out of the leaves and buzzed straight at my face! A bug! I'd never seen one like that before. I jumped back and barked at it, to let it know I wasn't food. It turned and flew along the road, and I chased it. I'd show that bug who was the boss!

I heard the truck behind me, but I didn't stop until the bug flew straight up into a tree. Not fair! I barked in frustration. Then I realized that I couldn't hear the truck's growly engine behind me anymore.

A door slammed. I turned. The truck had stopped by the edge of the road, and a man with wrinkled tan skin and muddy clothes got out. He knelt down and held out his hands.

"Hey, there, little fella!" he called.

I looked at him uncertainly. What kind of a person was this? What would those hands be like? Would they push me aside, like the first man I had known? Or would they be patient and gentle?

"You lost, fella? You lost?"

I wasn't sure about the hands yet, but the voice was kind. And he was talking right to me. The first man had never done that. And he'd never kneeled down so that he was close to my level, either.

This man seemed okay. I trotted over to him.

He picked me up in hands large enough to reach all the way around me. And those hands were gentle. I was relieved, even when he lifted me up over his head for a moment. I didn't care for that, but he lowered me almost at once and held me cradled against his chest. He smelled of smoke and mud and sweat and the outdoors. It was delicious.

"You're a pretty little fella. You look like a purebred retriever. Where did you come from, fella?"

I licked the man's chin, which was rough with whiskers. He laughed.

Yes, I decided. My name could be Fella. I could stay with this man. I could be his dog, do what he told me, go where he went. That was what I was supposed to do, wasn't it? Stay with a person? I was pretty sure that was true. It felt right.

The man took me over to his truck and plopped me in the front seat. He climbed in next to me. I liked this! I liked it even better when he started the car and amazing new scents came pouring in through the window, open just a crack at the top.

I tried to put my front legs up on the window and get my nose as close as I could to that cool rush of air. It was fun, even though I toppled over every time the car hit a bump or made a turn. The man laughed and reached over to steady me with that warm, big, gentle hand.

Then he made a sharp turn that dumped me on the floor of the truck. That was okay. It smelled interesting down there, too. The truck screeched to a stop, and the man looked over at me.

"We're in the shade here," he told me. I propped my feet up on the seat of the truck and looked at him. Then I hopped up and looked out the window. We were next to a building with several doors. The man nodded at one of the doors, next to a dark window.

"I'll only be a few minutes," he told me, rolling up the windows. "You'll be fine."

I didn't realize he was leaving until he got out and shut the door behind him. Hey, wait a minute! What about me? Wasn't I his dog now? Wasn't I supposed to go wherever he did?

I watched the man go inside the building, and then I plopped myself down on the seat to wait. I found a cloth strap and chewed on it for a while, but it wasn't very tasty. Bored, I settled down for a nap. The sun had shifted and was now coming in through the window, nice and warm on my back.

When I awoke, the sun was more than warm. It was hot.

The air in the truck was damp and tasted stale. I started panting. Then I started whimpering. I put my paws up on the window so I could see if the man was coming back. No sign of him! And the glass in the window was hot enough to burn against my paws. I dropped back down to the seat, pacing back and forth. The panting wasn't doing much good. I wasn't getting any cooler.

Everything inside the car seemed to be getting blurry and fuzzy around the edges. I lay down on the seat, thinking of the bowls of water the man used to bring us, of the puddle on the dirt track, of cool, fresh smells on the breeze.

My tongue was hanging out until it touched the cloth seat, but each gulp of hot air inside my mouth only made things worse. My whole body began to tremble.

I couldn't get up to peer out of the window again. All I could do was lift my eyes to the glass.

There was a face staring in! I couldn't see it clearly, and I couldn't smell it at all. But surely it was the man. He would open a door. He would get me out!

The face vanished.

I slumped with disappointment, feeling so heavy that it seemed I could sink into the soft cloth of the seat. My paws were starting to twitch all by themselves.

Then there was a stupendous crash. The whole truck rocked on its wheels. A stone bounced into the seat next to me, and clear, shiny pebbles scattered over my back. I lifted my head, and a cool kiss of air swept through the broken window and over my face.

Hands slid around me. They were not the hands of the man; they were smaller, and smoother, and even more gentle. I couldn't move as I was lifted toward a worried face framed by long black hair. A woman's face.

"You poor puppy. You poor, poor puppy," she whispered.

My name is Fella, I thought to myself.

* * *

The next thing I knew, I was lying on soft grass while cool, clear water trickled all over me, from my nose to my tail. The woman stood over me, holding a plastic jug. Nothing had ever felt so good.


Excerpted from Bailey's Story by W. Bruce Cameron, Richard Cowdrey. Copyright © 2016 W. Bruce Cameron. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

W. BRUCE CAMERON is the New York Times bestselling author of A Dog's Purpose and A Dog's Journey. He lives in California.

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Bailey's Story: A Dog's Purpose Novel 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous 12 months ago
In my opinion, when I read "A Dog's Purpose", I thought that the Bailey part was the most interesting. I was so happy when this book cams out. It is amazing and I totally recommend it to anyone even if you are an adult. I recommend it 1000000/10
JocelynEms 12 months ago
W. Bruce Cameron did it again! I absolutely love how he writes from a dog's point of view. This book is great for any dog lover of any age. You won't be disappointed!
DJLinda More than 1 year ago
“I guess she had found her shoes” is my favorite line in this captivating, engaging, filled with love novel, Bailey’s Story by W Bruce Cameron. Written for the youngster Cameron captures the heart and soul of boy’s best friend by unfolding boy and doggy's story through the eyes and senses of our canine. If every young reader could hear Bailey’s Story the world would have a lot less tragic pet stories, I am sure. Buy this, read it then pass it along to an elementary thru adolescent reader. You may just change their heart to see love in all creatures. Linda Caprice Caplan I reside in the Philly area where there are many doggies who love the soft pretzel!
Anonymous 3 months ago
When I first got this book I went home and read it! I read a little everyday! It was so interesting! I could not stop reading it! I was done with it in the next 3 days! Kids who are 7-12 should read it! I recomend this book to everyone! Read Baileys Story by Bruce W• Cameron
Anonymous 7 months ago
LindyLeatherwood 12 months ago
Bailey's Story: A Dog's Purpose Novel is a simplified version of the New York Times bestseller, A Dog's Purpose, also by W. Bruce Cameron. This illustrated novel for younger readers (recommended for ages 8-12, though at 48, I also loved the story!) is told from the point of view of Bailey, a Golden Retriever, and his love for--and his purpose--his boy, Ethan. The film version of A Dog's Purpose is coming out in 2017, so if you're planning on taking your kids to the movie (and why wouldn't you?), I highly recommend you give this to your kids to read first. Because as good as a movie is, the book is always better. Just be prepared that after your kid reads this, they WILL ask for a dog if they don't already have one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is from my 11 year old son - a reluctant reader with whom I enjoyed every minute of reading this book together! "I thought "Bailey's Story" was a good book. W. Bruce Cameron did a good job of getting inside a dog's head and making the dog act like a dog. I would recommend this book to dog people (people who know and love dogs). He did a great job creating tension and there were funny parts for people who understand dogs". I LOVED this book. I had a hard time not reading ahead when my son fell asleep. This author did a great job of creating the bond between Bailey and his boy and painting a charming and believable world in which they lived. I did not want to leave this world. The subject matter, size of the book, drama and humor were at the right level for the age range. The language was accessible, but challenging enough to engage and take my son to the next reading level. I just love seeing the world through Bailey's eyes.
BarbWalters More than 1 year ago
This delightful book is written entirely from a dog’s perspective. Readers will share the feelings of confusion, being misunderstood, belonging, trust, joy and love right along with Bailey, The author’s insights into the canine thought process is truly fascinating. Though this book is geared toward young readers, as a very seasoned reader I found it captivating. From the first page you will be riveted as Bailey ventures from the cage that had been his world into an unknown future.
CountryGirl56 More than 1 year ago
We love our dogs unconditionally, they love us the same way. Sharing our lives with them, we talk to them, and they to us. We are family. Bailey’s Story is a heartwarming age appropriate book for children from the series “ A Dog’s Purpose” by W. Bruce Cameron. Follow the life of Bailey, the golden retriever, as he explores the world around him, told by his perspective, and enjoy the story as destiny leads him to Ethan, “ His Boy”. Read about Bailey’s own birth, in a puppy mill, and the sadness involved. Learn about Bailey’s devotion and desire to fulfill his destiny, his purpose in life, to protect, care for, and love Ethan, and his family. The closeness that Bailey has for Ethan is palatable and unmistaken. How blessed was Bailey to find his forever home with such a great family. The adventures that they take, only prove that together, Bailey and Ethan, can accomplish and overcome many of life’s challenges. The bond between Boy and Dog is far truer than that of fiction. How many of us have had in our lives, that one special dog that we call our “ heart dog”? That one Dog that we had a connection to, that no matter how many other dogs come into our lives, they will always have that spot right next to our heart~ Bailey and Ethan had that~ I recommend this to all young readers, and their elders to enjoy. It is full of Hope and Love, and that is something that fills that empty spot that we all have.
NYgrl1914 More than 1 year ago
A soon-to-be classic, the story of Bailey and his beloved boy Ethan will steal the heart of the young reader in your life. I feel in love with the spirit of youth that Mr. Cameron captured in this most recent adaptation to A Dog's Purpose. He has a way of capturing and putting onto paper those "Je ne sais quoi" emotions that elude description for the rest of us. It is a rare treat to have characters come to life in such a way that you are sure that you know them. This book belongs in every classroom, every library and most importantly in the hands of every young person. For the animal lover, the kind-hearted, the adventurous and the kids lucky enough to be loved by their very own Bailey.