Where the Red Fern Grows Author:Wilson Rawls This classic tells of a ten-year-old boy in the Ozarks during the depression who desperately wants and works for a pair of coon dogs. He finally saves enough to get them, and Old Dan and Little Ann become his inseparable companions in this fine novel of courage, hard work, and ultimate heartbreak.
I loved this book as a child, and loved reading it to my own children. The author takes us into a unknown Florida ecosystem, and puts us right inside the skin of a boy. I think we all cried, and all loved the book.
My fifth grade teacher read this to me twenty five years ago. This evening I finished reading it my fifth grader.
Billy has his heart set on owning a hunting dog. He saves his nickels and dimes for two years to earn the money to buy a pair of dogs, Old Dan and Little Ann. What follows is a wonderful story of the love between a boy and his dogs, the freedom of childhood, and the subtle experiences that turn a boy into a man.
Although this story is about a boy, girls will love it, too. I highly recommend reading it to your fifth grader. Mine loved it!
Re-reading classics from childhood is fascinating- this is a total tear jerker of a book, but I also realized how sub-par the actual writing is. Not in a bad way, just not a 'classic' in the sense of a solid literary work. That being said, it feels like a very real story, told from the heart.
Well, a lot of other people apparently loved it as a child, so I am in the minority. I just read it for the first time, as an adult and the ending spoiled it for me.
I started reading this book to see if it would be a good one to read with a dog-loving foreign student in junior high, whom I am tutoring. At first it seemed like the perfect choice...but then I had a look at the last few chapters and changed my mind. Good "literature," it probably is, but there is a description of the killing of one of the boy's dogs that is downright gruesome. It could have been handled in a much less graphic way.
In my opinion, this book does not belong in the children's section of the library (its location in our local library). I dislike the modern penchant for having kids' stories end sadly, anyway, but I would not demand that every story end "happily ever after." Nevertheless, the graphic brutality in "Red Fern" is over the top.
Sure, kids nowadays are exposed to hundreds of gruesome killings, blowings-up, and so on, when they watch TV, and they may kill and blow people up themselves in video games, but there is a difference between animated games and a story that draws you in so that you identify with and suffer with the characters.
Anyone considering having his/her child read this book should check out the part about the dogs' deaths first and make a decision based on how their child might react to the story. I would keep it from mine as long as I could.
A loving threesome, they ranged the dark hills and river bottoms of Cherokee country. Old Dan had the brawn, Little Ann had the brains-and Billy had the will to train them to be the finest hunting team in the valley. Glory and victory were coming to them, but sadness waited too. And close by was the strange and wonderful power that's only found. . .
An exciting tale of love and adventure you'll never forget.