Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The blurb: 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 make them into the finest hunting team in the valley. Glory and victory were coming to them, but sadness waited too. Where the Red Fern Grows is an exciting tale of love and adventure you’ll never forget.
My review: Wow, I grabbed this from the library and really didn’t know what to expect. Honestly, all I knew was that the story was about a boy and his two dogs. Turns out the book was published in the early 1960s, but who would have guessed. It felt modern and timeless, even if the book was obviously set in years gone by.
The boy wanted a pair of hunting hounds and saved all the money he earned over a two year period in order to buy them. Old Dan and Little Ann became his precious dogs and the story unfolded showing how the boy trained those dogs to be the best raccoon-hunting team in the Ozark Mountains.
To be honest, I’m not a fan of hunting (hence the four stars instead of five). Some of the hunting scenes were too much for me (as in they were too long and descriptive, and I really didn’t want to know about it). However, that aside, the book is a good story. Young readers will learn that if they want something badly enough, they have to work to get it. That’s a lesson well learned in our “instant” world.
Be warned, this is a book about dogs and naturally, there will be moments that pull at the heartstrings. I found those scenes extremely difficult to listen to (I had the audiobook version); especially when I was driving. At one time, I had to turn the book off and continue later because it’s difficult to drive and cry at the same time. And dangerous.
Where the Red Fern Grows is a good story. Young boys will like it, and even young girls will enjoy the bond that develops between the boy and his hounds. Recommended.