Puppies, Dogs, and Blue Northers

ISBN: 0440418755
ISBN 13: 9780440418757
By: Gary Paulsen

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Animals Biography Dogs Fiction Memoir Non Fiction Nonfiction Paulsen To Read Young Adult

About this book

Cookie usually had puppies easily, but they were always so wonderful and special that I worried excessively each time. Considering that she had five litters of never less than eight pups and twice twelve- altogether over forty pups- this constituted a large measure of worry.

Reader's Thoughts

April Suter

A man and his dog, what more can I say. A story for people of all ages.81 pages


Not what I'm interested in (I read it for a class), but Gary Paulsen is such a great writer that I found it enjoyable.


** spoiler alert ** The end is soooooooooooooo sad!!!!!!! Cookie dies because of her arthritis, a leg disease, and dies with her eyes half way open....... WHY COOKIE WHY???????


In general, I really like Paulsen's survival stories - Hatchet, Brian's Return, Brian's Winter...and so on. This was a fun look at raising puppies and maintaining a kennel of sled dogs used to running in extremely harsh winters. It's about Paulsen and his dogs (most importantly Cookie) after the first Iditarod but before he knew he couldn't do a second. It's very short, and one of the recountings in particular is worth reading the whole thing for. Plus, if you're an animal lover, it's a win-win situation.


This book was a good story on a team of sled dogs that race in the Iditarod Trial. On this team is a vast array of smart dogs all lead by an alpha female named Cookie. She has been leading the team for many years and provides great young puppies that are bred to be leaders. Cookie is very valuable and has saved Paulsen’s life on several separate occasions. The skilled litter that Cookie produces plays a vital role in how the other sled team members can train the young pups. The pups are wild and full of energy but when reprimanded they sit at attention ears up and ready to learn. One of the sled team dogs named Anthony, was a bigger sized dog with a great amount of strength and taught the pups how to get a tasty snack from a skull. Rex was one of the young males that Cookie bred and Paulsen would have normally stopped the spontaneous mating, but the first thing that he thought of was “love.” For that exact reason he did not separate the two even though he would have preferred a different male with better qualities to breed with Cookie. Along the trail complications occur and this requires Paulsen to get run back home from the trail by his team and at that moment he and Cookies Iditarod Trail expeditions were over. The main characters in the book were Paulsen and Cookie, who were together most of the time. They had a strong relationship and Cookie would so just about anything for Paulsen until she had a litter. After her litter was born she was all about protecting them and when Paulsen tried to take a dead puppy away she growls at him, baring teeth. Some secondary characters are Anthony and Rex who are dogs on the team. Anthony shows intelligence by teaching the pups things, while Rex is the father to the whole litter. This story takes place through Alaska on the Iditarod Trail. There are many scenes from waking up early in morning and letting the puppies inside, to the day and evening where they train and race on the trail The major themes that I think are portrayed in this story are love, friendship, and respect for nature. These themes occur within the whole story with Paulsen admiring nature, along with his total respect for the dogs and there close bonds together. I would recommend this book to anyone looking to read a good morals book that shows the beauty between man and dog. This book can be entertaining to everyone who has even a slight love for canines.

Deborah Morgan

A very easy read but very enjoyable about his adventures with raising dogs.


he has a wonderful way of showing that extra special relationship you sometimes have with that one special soul-mate "heart dog" and I re-read the part where he sys goodbye to Cookie whenever I miss mine.

The Reading Countess

This is a poignant tale of one man's love for a dog told as no one other than the great Paulsen can. Brilliantly detailing the last years of his beloved race dog, Cookie's life with him, Gary Paulsen describes in the most minute detail how it is to live in synchronisty with nature. A reverance for all creatures great and small oozes in this brief 80-page tear jerker. I loved it.

Jennifer Wardrip

Reviewed by Bri P. for TeensReadToo.comA dog is man's best friend, right? He is when it comes to Cookie, and Gary Paulsen reflects on the wonderful friendship they shared. Cookie is the lead dog on Gary's team of sled dogs and has been for a very long time. Gary and Cookie have traveled a lot of trails together. They have even competed in the Iditarod. Cookie has given birth to many puppies but always goes back to work. You might call Cookie a working mother. In PUPPIES, DOGS, AND BLUE NORTHERS, Gary Paulsen tells his own story of love and friendship with his canine friend. If the strength and endurance of sled dogs interests you, you will love this book. The road they have traveled is not always smooth sledding; there are plenty of bumps along the way. Children ages ten and up will love to learn more about these amazing dogs and the training that goes into being a successful musher. This is an action-packed adventure and love story of a man and his one very special dog. Climb aboard this dog sled -- you won't ever forget it!

Amy Rhilinger

Great memoir of life raising sled dogs in Minnesota, and the ties between man and dog.

Boqin Zhang

I think this is a really cool and sad book about a dog name cookie and her owner.The dog went through a lot of adventers with her owner but in the end cookie died.


Exactly what I needed for a quick, fun read the night before my first day of dog sledding!


Another autobiographical dog book by Gary Paulsen that will make you both laugh and cry. This one is all about Cookie, the dog he dedicated My Life in Dog Years to. I think I didn't initially connect as much with this book because I don't know much about sled dogs. In fact, nearly everything I know about sled dogs, I've learned from Gary Paulsen's books. But once he started telling stories about Cookie's puppies, I was hooked. 4.5 stars.


So good! It is a good book for kids, and for adults it is a terrific addition/appendix to Paulsen's book Winterdance. In Winderdance, Paulsen talks about beginning to get serious about dogsledding, and then about running his first Iditarod. His lead dog through all that was Cookie, and this small book is all about her - about her last litter of puppies, and their relationship after the sledding was over. Paulsen is just great at observing details, and is very funny.


This is technically a book for "young adults." I must still be young, for this short, beautiful read is more adult than most of our so-called entertainments. This book is a gorgeous mediation on the power of the animal world and what it's like to be "raised" by a pack of dogs in a domestic setting.

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