The Detective Dog

Written by Julia Donaldson
Illustrated by Sara Ogilvie

For ages 5 to 8

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This book is best for:
  • making inferences
  • narrative - moral
  • narrative - problem
  • prediction
  • rhyming


Nell is a detective dog. She uses her keen sense of smell to solve mysteries. Whether it’s finding a lost toy, a misplaced book or even the culprit who did a poo on the new gravel path, Nell is always on the case! But, she has some other talents too. Nell loves to listen to stories and goes to school with her owner every day to listen to the children read. One morning, they arrive at school only to discover that all of the books have disappeared! Luckily, Nell the detective dog is on hand, and she wastes no time sniffing out the perpetrator.

Another brilliantly written rhyming story from Julia Donaldson. This picture book is action packed and will maintain children’s interest as they make inferences and predictions about who might have stolen all of the books. There is a clear and explicit moral to the story about the joys that books and libraries bring, as well as the consequences of stealing.

For further speech and language targets in The Detective Dog, see the list below.

Book Details

Narrative Structure: Complete Episode

Story Plot: Losing Tale

  • animals - pets
  • dogs
  • library
  • theft

Speech and Language Targets

Speech Sounds:
  • /d/ - dog, detective, down, dinosaur, doors, building, child, lead, read
  • /l/ - library, follow, Nell, smell, gravel, tail, trail, ball, wall
  • /n/ - nice, neat, Nell, knights, news, honey, dinosaur, listen, dragon, man, one
  • /s/ blends - sniff, smell, spider, school, scarf, steal
  • voiced /th/ - there, the, though, then, they, clothes, further
  • unvoiced /th/ - things, thousands, thief, through, thoughtfully, with
  • conjunctions (and)
  • regular past tense
  • irregular past tense verbs (found, read)
  • prepositions (in, on, past, over, through)
  • action verbs (sniff, smell, find, read, tug, follow, run, gaze)
  • matching
  • labelling
  • predicting
  • explaining means to a goal
  • identifying obstacles to an action
  • making inferences
  • location (in, on, through, past, over)
  • following rules
  • good behaviour
  • problem solving
  • traditional opening
  • time
  • setting
  • sequencing
  • initiating event
  • problem
  • plans
  • feelings
  • resolution
  • moral
  • direct character speech
Rhyme & Sound Awareness:
  • rhyme
Book Info

Published by Pan MacMillan in 2017 (ISBN: 9781509801602)

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