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The Adventures of Taxi Dog

by Debra and Sal Barracca


This is the story of a homeless dog who learns about friendship as he rides through the city in a taxi cab.

The Adventures of Taxi Dog tells the story of Maxi, a homeless dog. Jim, a New York taxi driver, adopts and befriends Maxi. Maxi and Jim travel together throughout New York City, mingling with exciting passengers and delighting in daily sights. Through their adventures in Jim’s taxi cab, the pair form a close, loving friendship.

Read aloud video by Story Time for All Kids

Guidelines for Philosophical Discussion


This story explores love, friendship, and animal rights and care. Jim and Maxi share a love and friendship (at least in some sense) and Jim treats Maxi in ways which invite questions. By questioning the roles of love, friendship, and animal care in the story, students can begin to engage deeply with these topics. Instruct students to share opinions and support them with reasons, respectfully and freely.


The story starts with Maxi living on the streets of New York City, dirty and hungry. Jim finds him one day, choosing to care for, adopt, and travel with him. These facts raise questions about the love which exists between the two. Does the pair’s love resemble the love the students’ parents give them? Or does it more closely resemble the love they feel for their favorite toy? Lead the students to discuss what love is, who can share it, etc.


In the story, Jim and Maxi enjoy daily adventures. The duo drives a singer, a pregnant couple, and a clown crew. They go sightseeing at the airport, eat hotdogs, and more together. These facts raise questions about the pair’s friendship. Are the two even friends? They are a human and an animal, after all. What makes them friends? Is it because they live together, spend time together, or something else? Ask them what parts of the story show them being friends. Lead the students to discuss what friends are, why we make friends, and why friendship matters.

Animal Care

In the story, Jim rescues Maxi from homelessness. Afterwards, Jim makes money by taking Maxi on taxi rides, earning higher tips. These facts raise questions about how and why Jim cares for Maxi. To start, lead students to discuss how Jim cares for and gains from Maxi. Does Jim have to care for Maxi? Does he have to care for other animals? Why does he care? By discussing these topics, students will have to think about why we care about animals and how much we should treat them like humans. They will learn to think about the ethics of how we care for and treat animals.


Jim and Maxi work most of each day. They pick up and drive passengers all over the city. Still, they have fun and enjoy each other. This challenges the reader to think about work. What is work? Can it include fun and play? What can we gain from working? What does it mean to work hard? By asking these questions, students can begin to think about work in new ways. This can immediately relate to the work they complete at school and home.

Questions for Philosophical Discussion


“At last I had a warm home with someone to love me”

  1. Does Jim love Maxi? Does Maxi love Jim?
  2. Do Jim and Maxi love each other like your parents love you? Do they love each other like you love your favorite toy?
  3. Do Jim and Maxi make each other happy? Do they need to? Would they still love each other if they did not?
  4. Are Jim and Maxi nice to each other? Is it because they love each other?
  5. Do Jim and Maxi spend a lot of time together? Is it because they love each other?
  6. Does Jim love Maxi because he is a good dog? Does Maxi love Jim because he is a good owner?


“New friends and new places .. each time we pick up a fare”.

  1. Are Jim and Maxi friends?
  2. Can Jim and Maxi be friends, even though Jim is a human and Maxi is a dog?
  3. Are Jim and Maxi friends like classmates can be?
  4. Why do Jim and Maxi become friends?
  5. Do Jim and Maxi need each other?
  6. Do Jim and Maxi have fun together? Could they be friends if they did not have fun?

Animal Care

“I sit next to Jim, I belong to him”

  1. Does Jim care about Maxi? Why?
  2. Do you care about your pets? Why?
  3. Does Jim have to care about Maxi? What does he have to give Maxi?
  4. Do you have to care about your pets? How do you take care of them?
  5. Should Jim care about Maxi more than other animals? As much as other people?
  6. Should you care about pets more than other animals? As much as other people?


“At the end of each day, when we’ve earned our pay, we drive the cab back to its spot.”

  1. Do Jim and Maxi work together?
  2. Do Jim and Maxi work for money? For fun and entertainment?
  3. Do you do work: homework and chores? Do you have fun while working?
  4. Can we have fun while working?
  5. Do you have a dream job? What is it? Why?

Find tips for leading a philosophical discussion on our Resources page.

Download & Print Email Book Module Back to All Books
Back to All Books Cover illustration for The Adventures of Taxi Dog by Debra and Sal Barracca featuring a brown dog with its head sticking out the window of a taxi cab. The wind blows the dogs ears back. Download & Print Email Book Module

About the Prindle Institute

As one of the largest collegiate ethics institutes in the country, the Prindle Institute for Ethics’ uniquely robust national outreach mission serves DePauw students, faculty and staff; academics and scholars throughout the United States and in the international community; life-long learners; and the Greencastle community in a variety of ways. In 2019, the Prindle Institute partrnered with Thomas Wartenberg and became the digital home of his Teaching Children Philosophy discussion guides.

Further Resources

Some of the books on this site may contain characterizations or illustrations that are culturally insensitive or inaccurate. We encourage educators to visit the Association for Library Service to Children’s resource guide for talking to children about issues of race and culture in literature. They also have a guide for navigating tough conversations.  PBS Kids’ set of resources for talking to young children about race and racism might also be useful for educators.

Philosophy often deals with big questions like the existence of a higher power or death. Find tips for leading a philosophical discussion on our resources page.

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