Rawls, Wilson. Where the Red Fern Grows: the Story of Two Dogs and a Boy. New York: Delacorte, 1961. Print. ISBN: 0-385-32330-1
“I suppose there’s a time in practically every young boy’s life when he’s affected by that wonderful disease of puppy love.” And puppy love is what Billy has. Where the Red Fern Grows is about a young boy who is determined to get a pair of hunting hounds. After many road blocks, Billy finally earns enough money to get his hounds, Old Dan and Little Ann. The boy and his dogs are inseparable while they are chasing “coons”. From getting caught in a blizzard to catching a mountain lion, Bill and his dogs are up for any adventure This is truly a story about a boy and man’s best friend... or friends in this case.
Wilson Rawls has taken what could have been a copy of “Old Yeller”, and created a classic tale that people will always remember. Each chapter takes Billy and his hounds on a new adventure, and Rawls wrote this novel in such a way the reader is walking right along through the Ozarks with the trio. Anyone who reads this book will experience every joy and every heartbreak right along with Billy. School Library Journal states, “An exciting tale of love and adventure you'll never forget." A Stafford Middle School student said, "This book had half the class crying...I do not just mean the girls." Any book that can have students feeling the heartbreak with the character is a must-have in every curriculum.
One of the strongest parts of this book is characters. Students could group together and each get a character to analyze. They would look at the different methods of characterization, focusing on Speech, What Others Say, and Action. At the end of the book, students could discuss the them of the book. The students could also compare a relationship they have to the relationship between Billy and his dogs.
(Book cover found at TitleWave.com.)
"Where the Red Fern Grows." School Library Journal. Amazon. Web. 07 Sept. 2010.