I WANT A DOG: My Opinion Essay


Fun Opinion Essays!

Cousins Dennis & Mellie discuss the best dog for each family using 12 criteria. They each write an opinion essay about their choice of dogs. Simple, fun essay writing!

How to Write: Prompts and Inspiration for Kids

When cousins Dennis and Mellie decide to get a dog, they consider carefully what breed would be best for each family. For example, Dennis wants a big dog, but Mellie wants tiny. He has no other pets, but she has other pets that a dog must get along with. They consider different dog personalities, family situations, and personal preferences. Dennis writes an opinion essay for his teacher, Mrs. Shirky. But will his essay convince his parents to get the dog of his dreams?

This story takes a popular subject—kids getting a pet—and adds dogs of all sizes and shapes: all writing lessons should be this much fun. In the end, it’s cousins and the dogs that keep a reader turning the page. What kind of dog will Dennis choose? Will Mellie want the same kind of dog?

This popular book hits many notes:

  • A family story about cousins, Dennis and Mellie
  • Information on dog breeds
  • Responsible dog ownership
  • Mentor-text for teaching writing
  • Model opinion essay for elementary students
  • Models the writing process, especially the importance of pre-writing or planning before you write
  • Completes the writing process by showing the results of Dennis’s essay

I WANT A DOG almost makes opinion essays look too easy.

Using I WANT A DOG to Teach Opinion Essay Writing

If you can’t see this video, click here.

PRAISE FROM DOG EXPERTS for This Opinion Essay Book for Kids

“Darcy Pattison does a remarkable job on several fronts with her wonderful new book I Want A Dog: My Opinion Essay. She introduces the value of the written text at an early age to children. This cannot be emphasized enough in our early classrooms. With this comes an important lesson regarding the responsibility of owning and caring for a dog. As President of the Labrador Retriever Club representing the breed with the largest number of dogs I know how imperative responsible dog ownership is and Darcy does a wonderful job instilling this at an early age. This is a remarkable children’s book that has a lesson.”
–Fred Kampo, President of the Labrador Retriever Club


“I find these books to be the perfect resource when teaching persuasive writing and opinion essay. Students are immediately interested in the engaging story, much more so than when introduced to this style of writing using an English text. The prompts included make for an excellent teacher resource and can be used an extension to the text, adding depth to the learning. “ Peggy Carlisle, NBCT, Director, NSTA Preschool/Elementary Division, President-Elect Society of Elementary Presidential Awardees, NSTA.


“. . .fill(s) a niche for teachers. . .” – School Library Journal 5/1/15

• “. . .breezy and engaging introduction to genre writing.”
• “The model essay can be used across multiple genres (informational and narrative nonfiction in addition to opinion).”
• “. . .useful for teachers showing early elementary students the relevancy, power, and importance of effective writing.” –Booklist 6/17/15


Ewa O’Neill writes and illustrates from her native Poland. She and her husband have twin sons. For more see her website, Ewa O’Neill

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