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Where the Red Fern Grows Mass Market Paperback – March 12, 1997
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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.” —TeenInk.com
“We tear up just thinking about it.” —Time on the film adaptation
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Top customer reviews
Coming of age & adventure story.
4 1/2 stars, 5 possible
This is a sweet coming of age story, Ten year old Billy becomes “infected” with the desire to own not one, but two dogs. Every single night Billy dreams about owning two coon dogs, no boy could want them more than him. His heart is torn because he is a very poor farm boy in the Ozarks and two coon dogs cost $50, which is out of reach for his father. Nightly Billy would cry himself to sleep and then his heart aches as he awakes each morning.
At eleven years old Billy came up with a way to get his coon dogs, he would earn the money himself. Billy found all kinds of ways to earn a few cents here and there from running errands, selling berries, minnows to fishermen as well as trapping and selling furs. After two years Billy earned enough money to buy his hounds. Billy trains the two pups and names them Old Dan and Little Ann, learning that Old Dan had the brawn & Little Ann has the brains. Together they roam the hills of the Ozarks hunting coon and their mischievous tricks to try to get away.
Wilson Rawls does such a great job of painting a picture with words; I can see all of the events of the book happening as if I was there. His descriptions of everything from the hair on Little Ann to the wind blowing through the old oaks are so complete, you might as well be running along with Billy with an axe and a lantern.
Everyone should read this book at least twice.
"I knelt down and gathered them into my arms. I buried my face between their wiggling bodies and cried. The stationmaster, sensing something more than two dogs and a boy, waited in silence."
My Dad didn’t grow up in the Ozarks, but he trapped animals as a young boy to raise money for a dog. Selling skins to Sears Roebuck & Co. was enough then to fulfill that dream and then later to get him enough money to fly enough hours to be conscripted (after being declared 4F) to train pilots at Americus, Georgia. When he was able to return to being a civilian pilot, the first thing he did with the money he saved was to buy another dog. On multiple levels, I felt this story to be so close to my father’s, both coming from rural, impoverished areas.
“Men, said Mr. Kyle, “people have been trying to understand dogs ever since the beginning of time. One never knows what they’ll do. You can read every day where a dog saved the life of a drowning child, or lay down his life for his master. Some people call this loyalty. I don’t. I may be wrong, but I call it love – the deepest kind of love.”
This is such a wonderful story; I highly recommend you read it. Re-read it, if you read it as a child.
Thank you Amazon Prime for allowing me to view.