Marley: A Dog Like No Other


John Grogan

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Minimum grade level: 


If you are an average 4th grader, you weigh between 60 and 80 pounds. Marley, the labrador retriever puppy that John and Jenny Grogan welcomed into their family in 1991, weighed 50 pounds before he was six months old. And he continued to grow! Fortunately, he was a friendly dog because he would greet everyone by jumping up and resting his paws on their shoulders -- looking at you straight in the eye! But Marley's intentions were good, even if he was one huge bundle of disasters: he chewed up furniture, ate stereo speakers, swallowed a precious diamond necklace, tore the house apart if he was left alone during a thunderstorm, flunked out of obedience school, ate anything and pooped everywhere. But despite his many bad habits, the Grogans loved Marley, and you will too. This is the true story of Marley, a dog like no other.

Discussion questions

Spoiler alert! Some of the questions contain key elements of the plot. Do not read if you don't want to know what happens!

  1. What was it about Marley that made him so special to the author and his family? Marley misbehaved all the time, yet the Grogans loved him anyway. Would your parents ever let you get away with the kind of things Marley does? Why do we judge people differently from animals?
  2. Marley was a poorly trained dog. Do you think he was untrainable, or was there something that the Grogans did that kept him from good dog behavior? What might that have been?
  3. Do you have any ideas about why Marley was afraid of thunderstorms?
  4. When we read about death in a biography of a human being, we are rarely moved to tears. What is it about Marley's death that makes us cry?
  5. What was your favorite episode in Marley's life? What makes it your favorite?
  6. Do you know a dog like Marley? What was the worst thing that dog ever did?

If you liked this book, try

  • The Underneath by Kathi Appelt
  • Runt by Marion Dane Bauer
  • The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford
  • Hotel for Dogs by Lois Duncan
  • I, Jack by Patricia Finney
  • Diamond Willow by Helen Frost
  • Hachiko Waits by Leslea Newman
  • The Leanin'Dog by K.A. Nuzum
  • Gully's Travels by Tor Seidler


Mangos (Marley's favorite food)

Created in part with funds granted by the Oregon State Library under the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library.