- Reading level: 8 - 12 years
- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Yearling; Reprint edition (1 September 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0440412676
- ISBN-13: 978-0440412670
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.9 x 19.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,093 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Where the Red Fern Grows Paperback – 1 Sep 1996
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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....Very touching.” —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
“We tear up just thinking about it.” —Time on the film adaptation
From the Inside Flap
Billy, Old Dan and Little Ann -- a Boy and His Two Dogs...
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.
"From the Paperback edition.See all Product description
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I intended to give 4 stars but reduced one. I can imagine billy saying to me " Why! , Its the best book written on coon hunters and hounds. I have never seen anything like that."
Answer is, because of the fact of killing so many coons and lots of death ( happening in front of a 14 year old kid). I don't care if author considers 14 year old to be mature enough for hunting but its the fact which bugged me the most. I find it disturbing that a kid can kill innocent racoons with his axe. One second before Billy has all the innocence but the very next second he is out with hounds for hunting( read killing). What's he is training to become ? Also, Billy talks very casually about owning a gun at the age of 14. Is this normal ? Well, its not normal where I live. Thanks to author that he didn't get one as though killing racoons with axe is not enough. I couldn't get my head around this excessive hunting and killing done by a kid. I don't even want to discuss the death of Rubin and Billy's reaction to it. I will reduce one more star. May be its just one very small scene but all I can think is THIS KID IS NOT NORMAL. I blame Billy alone for all the deaths.
That's why only 3 stars
When leaving work in Idaho's Snake River Valley, Billy Colman sees a pack of dogs attacking a stray coonhound. He chases the pack away and takes the stray home with him so he can nurse it back to health. Once it has recovered, Billy sets it free knowing that it will return home.
The experience reminds Billy of his childhood growing up in the Ozark Mountains of Oklahoma. He wants a dog, and his parents offer to get him a puppy from a neighbour’s litter. He is very specific, however, and tells them he wants two coonhounds, but his parents tell him that they don't have enough money. One day, he comes across a magazine advertisement for a dog house in Kentucky which breeds Redbone Coonhounds and sells them for $25 each. Determined to get dogs, he goes to work performing odd jobs such as selling vegetables to local fishermen and manages to save the $50 he needs with the help of his grandfather. However, since it takes two years to do so, his grandfather writes ahead to see if the dog house will honour the ad. They do so, and the price has dropped so the two puppies will only cost $40.
Since the mail buggy does not deliver any living being, Billy's dogs are to be delivered to the freight depot in Tahlequah. His family is poor and does not have transportation, so he finds his own way to get to the depot and chooses to go straight through the hills. He picks up and leaves with his puppies, which are a male and a female. He also decides to buy something nice for each member of his family with his extra $10 before heading back home; he buys a pair of overalls for his father, some dress cloth for his mother and a bag of candy for his sisters.
On the way back home, he spends the night in Robber's Cave on Sparrow Hawk Mountain. There he builds a fire and plays with the puppies. While trying to sleep, he hears a noise that he realizes is the cry of a mountain lion. In the morning, he continues on. He comes to a sycamore tree and sees the names Dan and Ann carved inside a heart in the bark and decides to name the puppies Old Dan and Little Ann.
To train Old Dan and Little Ann, Billy traps a raccoon with the help of his grandfather and uses its pelt to teach them to hunt. During their training, their personalities become apparent: Old Dan is brave and strong, while Little Ann is very intelligent. Both are very loyal to each other and to Billy.
On the first night of hunting season, Billy takes Old Dan and Little Ann out for their first hunt. He promises them that if they tree a raccoon, he will do the rest. They tree one in a large sycamore, which Billy had previously nicknamed "The Big Tree". As he tries to call them off, they look at him sadly and he cuts the tree down, which takes him two days and costs him blistered hands. In the end, when he's about to give up his effort, Billy offers a short prayer for strength to continue. A strong wind starts to blow and the tree falls. Old Dan and Little Ann take the raccoon down.
Billy, Old Dan, and Little Ann go hunting almost every night. As months go by, he brings more fur to his grandfather's store than any other hunter, and the stories of his dogs spread throughout the Ozarks. One day, he and his grandfather make a bet with Rubin and Rainie Pritchard, that his dogs can catch the very known “ghost coon". Rubin and Rainie set out with him to see if Old Dan and Little Ann can do so. It leads them on a long, complicated chase, and Rubin and Rainie want to give up. But Billy is determined. Finally, when they have it treed, Billy refuses to kill it. Rubin then orders his dog, Old Blue, to attack Old Dan, who is smaller; and Rubin start to beat Billy to stop him from interfering. Little Ann then helps Old Dan, and together they are killing Old Blue; Rubin runs to attack them with an axe, but he trips on it and kills himself.
A few weeks later, Billy's grandfather enters him into a championship raccoon hunt, putting him against experienced hunters and the finest dogs in all the country. Before it starts, he enters Little Ann into a contest for the best-looking dog, where she wins and is given the silver cup. On the fourth night of the hunt, Old Dan and Little Ann tree three raccoons, making it to the final round. The sixth night, they tree one before a blizzard hits. Billy, his father, grandfather, and the judge lose sight of the dogs. When they finally find them, Billy's grandfather sprains his ankle .They build a fire, and when Billy's father chops down a tree, three raccoons jump out. Old Dan and Little Ann take two of them down, and chase the third one to another tree. In the morning, the hunters find them covered with ice circling the bottom of a tree. The last raccoon wins them the championship and the gold cup. The hunters also present them with $300 of jackpot money.
Billy's mother and sisters are overjoyed with the prizes. He keeps up his hunting. One night, however, Old Dan and Little Ann tree a mountain lion, and it attacks. Billy is horrified, and with his axe he enters the fight, hoping to save his dogs, but they end up having to save him. Eventually, they defeat the mountain lion, but Old Dan is badly wounded, and Billy soon finds his intestines in a bush. He dies late that night. Billy is heartbroken, and Little Ann loses the will to live, stops eating, and dies of grief a few days later on Old Dan's grave. Billy's father tries to tell him that it is all for the best, because with the money they received from winning the championship hunt, they can move to town. He goes to visit Old Dan and Little Ann's graves and finds a giant red fern between them…..
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