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Where the Red Fern Grows Mass Market Paperback – March 12, 1997

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Editorial Reviews Review

Author Wilson Rawls spent his boyhood much like the character of this book, Billy Colman, roaming the Ozarks of northeastern Oklahoma with his bluetick hound. A straightforward, shoot-from-the-hip storyteller with a searingly honest voice, Rawls is well-loved for this powerful 1961 classic and the award-winning novel Summer of the Monkeys. In Where the Red Fern Grows, Billy and his precious coonhound pups romp relentlessly through the Ozarks, trying to "tree" the elusive raccoon. In time, the inseparable trio wins the coveted gold cup in the annual coon-hunt contest, captures the wily ghost coon, and bravely fights with a mountain lion. When the victory over the mountain lion turns to tragedy, Billy grieves, but learns the beautiful old Native American legend of the sacred red fern that grows over the graves of his dogs. This unforgettable classic belongs on every child's bookshelf. (Ages 9 and up)


Praise for Where the Red Fern Grows
A Top 100 Children’s Novel, School Library Journal
A Must-Read for Kids 9 to 14, NPR
Winner of 4 State Awards
Over 7 million copies in print!
“A rewarding book . . . [with] careful, precise observation, all of it rightly phrased.” —The New York Times Book Review
“One of the great classics of children’s literature . . . Any child who doesn’t get to read this beloved and powerfully emotional book has missed out on an important piece of childhood for the last 40-plus years.” —Common Sense Media
“An exciting tale of love and adventure you’ll never forget.” —School Library Journal
“A book of unadorned naturalness.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Written with so much feeling and sentiment that adults as well as children are drawn [in] with a passion.” —Arizona Daily Star
“It’s a story about a young boy and his two hunting dogs and . . . I can’t even go on without getting a little misty.” —The Huffington Post
“A brilliant literary work.” —
“We tear up just thinking about it.” —Time on the film adaptation

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 700L (What's this?)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 249 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Books; 1st edition (August 1, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553274295
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553274295
  • Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 0.8 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,534 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Robin M Goffinet on July 3, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
I first saw this movie when I was in third grade and it is still one of the most heartwarming movies I have ever seen. About a boy who, during the great depression, skrimped and saved to buy a pair of coon hounds. After he finally got them he raised them to become the best pair of coon hunters in the county. What the dogs do for him proves an unconditional friendship to the end. I never fail to cry at the end. If I could give it more than 5 stars, I would.
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163 of 175 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 5, 1998
Format: Audio Cassette
Although it has been nearly two weeks since I finished listening to the tape of Where the Red Fern Grows, I am fighting to choke back the tears even now. I plan to order several copies for Christmas gifts.
Yes it is a wonderful epic adventure story about a boy and his dogs and their heroic devotion to each other. And yes, it is so well read that you live every moment right alongside Billy and Old Dan and Little Ann. But, like most great novels, it is much more.
I am a dog lover, a college teacher, and a retired field grade Army officer. I loved the book not only for the captivating story, but also for the slice of Americana that it captures and preserves. It is a time capsule of a way of life, of what made this nation great. The breadth, depth, and magnitude of the love, devotion, responsibility, integrity, courage, and tenacity of the characters is awesome. It was a simpler time, when modest, humble, ordinary people were heroes in their own right, but could not imagine being any other way.
If this story doesn't burst your heart with joy and then rip it out with painful agony, you are dead and worse.
If you think you're dead, it will awaken and electrify feelings you didn't know you had.
If you are looking for answers, you will find them all in this simple little tale of perfectly ordinary and unassuming heroes of epic stature.
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91 of 99 people found the following review helpful By Kim F. on October 26, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Billy lives in the Ozarks and wants 2 hunting dogs. He saves for 2 years, then sends away to get 2 puppies. Once the puppies arrive - Old Dan and Little Ann - Billy begins to live his dream, never realizing that more is happening than he is aware of.

This is a wonderful story of the love a boy has for his dogs & the freedoms of childhood. However, Billy has some experiences that take him from childhood into being an adult. Some he is aware of but others are more subtle.

Despite the story being about a boy, girls can relate to a lot of the emotions as well. Adults can more fully appreciate the more subtle storylines.

I highly recommend this book but suggest that you keep plenty of tissues handy.
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75 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Charlotte A. Hu on February 27, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I read this book years ago when I was in elementary school, but now, nearly 40, I decided to relax while listening to the audio book. I sat at the kitchen table, assembling a jigsaw puzzle while the narrator once again described a young boy so desperate for hunting hounds that he saved for two years, and by the time he walked the 30 miles to pick up his hard-earned hounds, his feet scratched from picking berries to sell for 10 or 15 cents a batch to raise the incredibly high goal of $50 for his precious dogs.

This story is such a great tale of true grit, determination, hard work and the idea that all things are possible if you set yourself to the task. The things the boy learned and experienced with his hounds and his own sense of loyalty to his family and his dogs are the kind of character building stories that every child, and every 40-year-old should experience.

I confess I've always admired dogs ... their loyalty, dedication and wish I could emulate the character that a good dog naturally exhibits. This is one of a group of stories like Lassie and Ol' Yeller about dedicated dogs.

Buy it for every child that you hope will develop true grit.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Joe Comer on February 27, 2000
Format: DVD
A heartfelt film about a boy and his passion for coon hunting. If how well the relationship between people and their pets should decide the value of a movie then this film is solid gold!Set in the 1930's it's realistic atmosphere, period and setting is so stunning, that it holds you to your seat from the start. Excellent acting, especially by James Whitmore and Stewart Peterson. Peterson, particularly, is extremely convincing as Billy. You would have to search long and hard to find as appealing a performance from one so young!In reviewing a film of this nature, you really have to judge the emotional level and how easily you are moved. Some animal movies (OLD YELLER, BORN FREE and others) move you to tears very easily. This is one of those films. Others seem to be strained to say the least. For more on that, see my review of the sequel to ....RED FERN GROWS. In any case, if you are looking for a film that can realistically take you to another time and place, tells a great story and does so in a very moving way, this film is for you.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Ryan J. Opel on December 31, 2001
Format: DVD
A straight transfer to DVD from video but a very good cut. Where the Red Fern grows takes place in the Depression Era Oklahoma. The kid is absoultely dying to own a set of hunting dogs. He works his put off to earn the [amt] dollars that these 2 red tick hounds, Old Dan and Little Ann and then they become the top coon dogs in that part of the state. While I won't spoil the ending I will say as a dog owner I cry every time I watch with the love that those dogs show for there master and friend. A must have DVD for any dog lover.
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