Friday, January 4, 2008
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