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4.3 29
by Beverly Cleary, Paul O. Zelinsky (Illustrator)

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Strider has a new habit. Whenever we stop, he places his paw on my foot. It isn't an accident because he always does it. I like to think he doesn't want to leave me.

Can a stray dog change the life of a teenage boy? It looks as if Strider can. He's a dog that loves to run; because of Strider, Leigh Botts finds himself running — well enough to join the school


Strider has a new habit. Whenever we stop, he places his paw on my foot. It isn't an accident because he always does it. I like to think he doesn't want to leave me.

Can a stray dog change the life of a teenage boy? It looks as if Strider can. He's a dog that loves to run; because of Strider, Leigh Botts finds himself running — well enough to join the school track team. Strider changes Leigh on the inside, too, as he finally begins to accept his parents' divorce and gets to know a redheaded girl he's been admiring. With Strider's help, Leigh finds that the future he once hated to be asked about now holds something he never expected: hope.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Although it lacks the emotional intensity that made Cleary's Newbery-winning Dear Mr. Henshaw an instant classic, this sequel offers further proof of the author's preeminence in children's fiction. Here, as in the preceding novel, she credibly and cogently writes in the voice of Leigh Botts--a boy with whom readers of both sexes will find much in common. Through entries made in a diary that he uncovers when cleaning his room, Leigh (now 14) tells of the dog that he and his friend find abandoned on the beach. The boys assume joint custody of the pet, which they name Strider. But it soon becomes evident that Strider has rescued Leigh from physical and emotional apathy. Leigh's relationship with his devoted pet gives him the strength to deal with what seem to be insurmountable problems: his parents' separation, his dad's imperfections and even his attraction to a girl at school. Zelinsky's sketchy artwork provides quietly affecting details. Once again Cleary demonstrates her ability to write from the heart. Ages 8-up. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-- Leigh Botts, the protagonist of the Newbery winner Dear Mr. Henshaw (Morrow, 1983), is once again recording his thoughts on paper. While cleaning his room, he discovers his old diary and is inspired to start writing again. Now 14, he is still dealing with some of the same issues from earlier days--his parents' divorce, concerns about his father's sincerity and financial stability, and insecurities about his own identity and popularity. He also has a few new worries--namely Geneva, a girl, and Strider, a dog. Leigh and his friend Barry find the abandoned pooch on the beach and decide to try ``joint custody.'' It is not the perfect arrangement. Because Leigh's attachment to Strider fills the emotional voids in his life, he becomes reluctant to share him. Eventually, the two boys work through the tensions that threaten their friendship. At the same time, Leigh and his father develop a new understanding. Although the story is centered aroung Leigh's relationship with Strider, this is more than just ``a boy and his dog'' book. Cleary's talent for portraying the details of everyday life--both small and significant--is evident here. Her characters are unique individuals and ``every children'' at the same time. Strider lacks the subtle poignancy found in Dear Mr. Henshaw , and some readers may find Leigh's interest and responses more appropriate for an 11 or 12 year old than a 14 year old, but Cleary's fans will relate to his challenges and triumphs--whether or not they've read the first title.-- Heide Piehler, Shorewood Public Library, WI

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
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Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.35(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt


Chapter One

From the Diary of Leigh Botts

June 6

This afternoon, as Mom was leaving for work at the hospital, she said for the millionth time, "Leigh, please clean up your room. There is no excuse for such a mess. And don't forget the junk under your bed."

I said, "Mom, you're nagging. I'm going to Barry's house."

She plunked a kiss on my hair and said, "Room first, Barry second. Besides, where would the world be without nagging mothers? Everything would go to pieces."

Maybe she's right. Things are pretty deep in my room. I hauled all the rubbish out from under my bed. In the midst of all the old socks, school papers, models that have fallen apart, paperback books (one library book--oops!), and other stuff, I found the diary I kept a couple of years ago when I was a mixed-up kid in the sixth grade. Mom had just divorced Dad and moved with me to Pacific Grove, better known as P.G., where I was a new kid in school, which wasn't easy.

I sat there on the floor reading my diary, and when I finished, I continued to sit there. What had changed?

Dad still drives his tractor-trailer rig, lives mostly on the road, and is late with his child support checks or forgets them. I don't often see him, but I don't get as angry about this as I did in the sixth grade. I no longer feel like crying, but I still hurt when he doesn't telephone when he said he would. Whenever I see a big rig, excitement shoots through me until I see Dad isn't the driver. I wish--oh well, forget it.

Mom has finished her vocational nurse course and works at the hospital from three to eleven because that shift pays more than thedaytime shift. Mornings she studies to become a registered nurse so she can earn more money. We still live in what our landlady called our "charming garden cottage" but I call a shack. Mom is looking for an apartment, but so far no luck.

Twice a week I mop the floor at Catering by Katy, where Mom used to work before she got her license. Katy gives me good things to eat. I like earning my own spending money, but I feel I could use the squares of Katy's linoleum for a checkerboard in my sleep.

Mom, who used to think TV was one of the greatest evils of the universe, finally had our set repaired because my grades were good and she no longer felt TV would rot my brain and leave me twiddling my shoelaces. At first I watched everything until I got bored and cut back to news and animal programs. Then I began to feel that every lion on the Serengeti must have his own personal hairdresser. That left the news, which sometimes worries me. If I see a truck accident with the tractor hanging over the edge of a bridge, or tons of tomatoes spilled on a freeway, I can hardly breathe until I see the driver isn't Dad.

One part of my diary made me smile, the part about wanting to be a famous author like Boyd Henshaw someday. Maybe I do, maybe I don't, but I'm glad that when I wrote to him, he said I should keep a diary.

I worry about what I'm going to do 'with my life, and so does Mom. Dad is probably too busy worrying about meeting his deadline with a trailer load of lettuce before it rots to even think of me. Or maybe he is wasting his time playing video games at some truck stop.

Until the last sentence, I enjoyed writing this. Maybe I'll go back to writing in composition books, but not every day, just once in a while, like now, when I feel like writing something.

The gas station next door has stopped ping-pinging, which means it's after ten o'clock. Mom gets home about eleven-thirty, and my room is still a mess. No problem. Except for books and my diary, I'll dump everything in the trash.

I just remembered. I forgot about Barry.

Strider. Copyright © by Beverly Cleary. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Beverly Cleary is one of America's most beloved authors. As a child, she struggled with reading and writing. But by third grade, after spending much time in her public library in Portland, Oregon, she found her skills had greatly improved. Before long, her school librarian was saying that she should write children's books when she grew up.

Instead she became a librarian. When a young boy asked her, "Where are the books about kids like us?" she remembered her teacher's encouragement and was inspired to write the books she'd longed to read but couldn't find when she was younger. She based her funny stories on her own neighborhood experiences and the sort of children she knew. And so, the Klickitat Street gang was born!

Mrs. Cleary's books have earned her many prestigious awards, including the American Library Association's Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, presented to her in recognition of her lasting contribution to children's literature. Dear Mr. Henshaw won the Newbery Medal, and Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and Ramona and Her Father have been named Newbery Honor Books. Her characters, including Beezus and Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins, and Ralph, the motorcycle-riding mouse, have delighted children for generations.

Paul O. Zelinsky is the illustrator of Anne Isaac's Dust Devil and creator of the now-classic interactive book called The Wheels on the Bus. His retelling of Rapunzel was awarded the 1998 Caldecott Medal. Rumpelstitlskin, Hansel and Gretel and Swamp Angel with different authors all garnered Paul a Caldecott Honor. Since 1991 Paul O. Zelinsky has lived in the same apartment with his wife Deborah in northern Brooklyn, New York.

Brief Biography

Carmel, California
Date of Birth:
April 12, 1916
Place of Birth:
McMinnville, Oregon
B.A., University of California-Berkeley, 1938; B.A. in librarianship, University of Washington (Seattle), 1939

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Strider 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awsome i love the book so insristing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love beverly cleary books! This is a great book for readers! So I think young or old will love it just as much as Dear Mr Henshaw!
Amanda Cafiero More than 1 year ago
This book was good
bandchicky314 More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for a Battle of the Books competition, and, quite frankly, I wasn't impressed. It was a so-so book that not many people liked. I wasn't drawn in or compelled to read more. Luckily, it was a short book that wasn't a hard read so I was able to get it done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read this for a school book report and may I say I thought it was AMAZING! A great follow up to Dear Mr Henshaw and what an amazing dog!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a must read! You will fall in love with the characters, and relate to them. The worst part is the ending, you never whant to lose the charasters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is good the book is good and gets better and better and better then it is like what just happend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yiu need to read it and buy it and give the money to ME!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dear mr. Henshaw was better but this tells a story of love and proves that animals can really help.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book love it need to read it
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this first when I was six. Now ten years later, I can not wait to read it again. You must read this book!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book because it taught me some new words. I also liked Leigh's daily activities ...running with Strider, racing at the track, writing stories in Mrs. Wounded Hair's class, and the landlady Mrs. Smerling. I'm ready for another story by Beverly Cleary. Great book!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
While reading Strider I noticed that Leigh Botts worried about his dad...just like I do. My dad was driving a tracker-trailer when I first started to read this story. The chapters kept coming and there were 3 of us reading the chapters each day...until we finished the book. We're going to get 'Dear Mr. Henshaw' next. Oh, learned a lot of words reading Strider.