Friday, January 4, 2008

A Story of Man's Best Friend


Man. With the new job and the holidays, I just couldn't find any time to pick up a book!! How sad is that? But the New Year has started out well, and I just finished Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls (1961, 272 pgs, Yearling). I read it for a couple of reason. One - I have never read it before and it's a Classic YA book. Two - I read it for the Four-Legged Friends Challenge. And three - I love dogs!!

This is the story of Billy, a young boy growing up in the rugged Ozarks. There was only one thing in life that Billy wanted. A dog. But mind you, not just any dog. No, Billy wanted a hound dog to hunt coons. But a good dog cost money, and Billy's parents just couldn't afford it.

One day, he found a magazine with an advertisement for redbone hound dogs, and he knew he had to have them. Two puppies were going to cost $50, which was a ton of money to him. So Billy started saving. He worked hard to pick berries to sell to his grandfather's story. He caught crawfish and minnows to sell to the fisherman in the area. Two years of saving his dimes and nickels and Billy had enough money to buy the puppies. He had his grandfather send the money, and waited anxiously till they were delivered.

When they did arrive at the train station a good 20 miles from his house, Billy couldn't wait till he had a ride to pick them up. He started walking. He just had to have his dogs!! He wasn't going to let 20 miles stop him from getting something he had worked so hard for over 2 years to buy. And when he finally laid eyes on his puppies, he just knew they were the most special dogs anyone had ever had. Little Ann and Old Dan became Billy's best friends and constant companions. When they got a little older, he taught them how to hunt coons. And they were good. A legend in the making.

This story was a wonderful tale of a boy and his dogs. Those 2 dogs made an incredible impact on not only Billy, but his entire family. It's a story of unconditional love, devotion and loyalty. It made me smile and it also made me cry. I loved how hard Billy worked to get his puppies. And I think it's the perfect book for kids, especially boys. They will appreciate all the coon hunting the book contains a little more than most girls. If you've ever had a pet, especially a dog, you will appreciate the love Billy had for his "friends". This book is especially heartwarming, and the perfect book for my first read of the year!! 4/5

15 comments:

DesLily said...

I never read the book but the movie made me bawl my eyes out!

Nicola said...

I'm not even a dog person and I loved this book! Rawls' "Summer of the Monkeys" is really good too.

Amy said...

This was my favorite book as a child.
Glad you liked it too!

Carl V. said...

This is another one of those classic pieces of children's literature that I cannot believe I haven't read. I'm sure I'd love it, it sounds like a book that is right up my alley. Glad you enjoyed it.

Debi said...

I've never read this one either, but it sounds like a great one to read with my boys! Thanks, Stephanie!

Melody said...

Great review, Stephanie. I have not heard of the book but this sounds like a great read.

Ladytink_534 said...

I've read this book at least 4 times. It's such a good story.

Stephanie said...

Deslily - OH...It's a movie too?? I didn't know that? I don't think I can let my son see it though. He'd never make it. He's so sensitive when it comes to his dogs!

Nicola - I have had dogs all my life. It's amazing to me how much love they give to a family. This book just puts it all down on paper!!

Amy - I can see why!! I can't believe I never read it before now.

Carl - The same goes for me. I couldn't believe I hadn't read it before now. Great book. You can read it to your doggie!!

Debi - Like I said, I think boys would really appreciate this one. I hope you guys do read it. I'd love to know what you think.

Melody - It's a great book for kids. Actually, it's a great book for anyone.

Tink - I can't believe I never read it as a kid. I LOVED The Incredible Journey when I was young. I really needed a good librarian around to recommend this stuff!

Andi said...

I read this book in 4th grade and I've never forgotten it. It made me bawl, but it was SUCH a good book.

Stephanie said...

Andi - It made ME cry, and I'm an adult!!! Great book.

varietyofwords said...

I also read this book in elementary school. I remember really liking the book at the time, not sure what I would think of it now however.

Trish said...

I read this one years ago--maybe when I was in 7th grade? I don't remember too many of the details, but I definitely remember the ending. Glad you liked this one!

And time--eh. Never even time--I share your "new job" woes...

lisabea said...

When my sister and I were in Jr. High, if we needed a good cry, out would come Where the Red Fern Grows. Best book to make you weep evah.


Happy New Year, btw.

Lezlie said...

Our 5th grade teacher read this to us and I've never, ever forgotten it. (I am 42 now.) I remember having to leave the classroom because I was sobbing so hard at the end. I have to admit it's an amazing book, but I will *never* read it again. My heart can't take it! :-) To this day I mostly stay away from animal stories due to uncontrollable sob fests. I know I'm missing some great reads, but this is a woman who cried for 3 days after I saw "Babe". I know. Hopeless. :-)

Lezlie

Anonymous said...

MY CLASSMATE THINKS YOUR 'SMOKIN' HOT'. JUST THINK YOU SHOULD KNOW. GOOD BOOKS.