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Where the Red Fern Grows

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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 County. 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...

Where the Red Fern Grows—An exciting tale of love and adventure you'll never forget.

(from the back cover)

272 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 1, 1961

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About the author

Wilson Rawls

35 books685 followers
Wilson Rawls was born on September 24, 1913, in the Ozark country of Scraper, Oklahoma. His mother home-schooled her children, and after Rawls read Jack London's canine-centered tale Call of the Wild, he decided to become a writer.

But the Great Depression hit the United States in 1929, and Rawls left home to find work. His family moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1935, and he came home each fall to work and hunt. He wrote stories while he traveled, but his lack of formal education hampered his grammar, and he could not sell anything. In 1958, he gave up on his dream and burned all his work. He later revealed his literary desires to his wife, Sophie, and she encouraged him to keep writing.

In a three-week burst, Rawls wrote Where the Red Fern Grows, a highly autobiographical and poignant account of a boy, his two hounds, and raccoon-hunting in the Ozark Mountains. His wife edited his grammar and, after serialization in the "Saturday Evening Post," Doubleday published the novel in 1961. By the late 1960s, word-of-mouth helped the book become a classic for young readers. Rawls wrote (and Sophie edited) one more book, The Summer of the Monkeys, in 1976. This, too, became a classic. Rawls died in 1984 in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

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5 stars
174,345 (44%)
4 stars
123,940 (31%)
3 stars
68,405 (17%)
2 stars
19,208 (4%)
1 star
8,554 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 13,500 reviews
Profile Image for Melinda.
15 reviews30 followers
July 10, 2007
I read this book in 4th grade. One day I was waiting for class when an obnoxious boy decided it would be a good idea to take it. I informed him that it was my favorite book in the whole wide world and if he didn't give it back that he'd be sorry. He then threatened to tear the book in half. With that I walked over to him, hit him over the head with my cast (I had broken my wrist a few weeks prior), took my book and calmly walked away.

I think that a book that inspires someone to violence in the 4th grade is worth reading, don't you?
Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
July 5, 2018
this is one of my favorite books in all the land. i read it at least a million times when i was little, and it holds such a special place in my heart, i can't even begin to review it. having said all that, there are those who have a problem with the ending, because let's just say it's fairly devastating. so, as a band-aid to the heart of monica!, i have rewritten the ending to make it a little more jolly. with all apologies to wilson rawls, whose ending i thought was spectacular, allow me to present THE WAY Where the Red Fern Grows SHOULD HAVE ENDED. AND NOW DOES.

come to my blog!
55 reviews10 followers
August 25, 2007
I read this book in sixth grade and cried my twelve-year-old heart out. Another book I share with my sixth grade students. What I find is that this book in particular allows the boys in my class to get emotional about a story and be able to talk about it together and normalize it. It is almost a contest for them of who got most upset. One student said he finished it on a plane ride home and that the flight attendant kept coming up to him asking him if he was alright. I've had many students tell me this is the best book they have ever read and I am glad that I get to share it with them each year. I would love to do this as a read aloud but I know I wouldn't be able to get through it. Just the part where Billy meets his dogs for the first time gets me.
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,983 followers
April 27, 2022
I finally got to this classic book and it did not disappoint. For years I have wanted to read it with many of my friends and family having read it back in elementary/middle school and talking about how good it is. It is well written, flows well, and takes the reader on a series of emotional highs and lows. When it is over you will be satisfyingly exhausted (and maybe crying).

The only place I could see this story being a problem for some readers is that it is very much a period piece. Set in rural early 1900s America, it could prove difficult to connect to. If you think this could be a show stopper, proceed with caution. But, if it is something that you can work around, there is a lot to love here.

Another important part of this book is dogs and a boy’s love for his dogs. I am not much of a dog person, but I was still able to enjoy this book. If you are a dog person, I think you will connect with it even more!

If you have had this book on your to read list for a long time like I did, maybe now is the time to check it out!
Profile Image for Cheri.
1,795 reviews2,389 followers
August 24, 2016
Wilson Rawls’ classic, timeless story of a young boy’s coming-of-age is heartbreaking, sentimental, and utterly charming. An ode to love, family and the beauty of nature. Set in the Ozarks, northeastern Oklahoma, Billy wants nothing more than to have a puppy, or to be more specific, two puppies. He wants to train them for hunting, although his mother has forbidden him to use or own a gun until he is 21 or older. For two years he waits, collecting enough money doing whatever jobs he can, he finally raises enough for two puppies who are delivered via train to the town closest to where he lives.

"I knelt down and gathered them into my arms. I buried my face between their wiggling bodies and cried. The stationmaster, sensing something more than two dogs and a boy, waited in silence."

My Dad didn’t grow up in the Ozarks, but he trapped animals as a young boy to raise money for a dog. Selling skins to Sears Roebuck & Co. was enough then to fulfill that dream and then later to get him enough money to fly enough hours to be conscripted (after being declared 4F) to train pilots at Americus, Georgia. When he was able to return to being a civilian pilot, the first thing he did with the money he saved was to buy another dog. On multiple levels, I felt this story to be so close to my father’s, both coming from rural, impoverished areas.

“Men, said Mr. Kyle, “people have been trying to understand dogs ever since the beginning of time. One never knows what they’ll do. You can read every day where a dog saved the life of a drowning child, or lay down his life for his master. Some people call this loyalty. I don’t. I may be wrong, but I call it love – the deepest kind of love.”

This is such a wonderful story; I highly recommend you read it. Re-read it, if you read it as a child.
Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,144 reviews1,848 followers
July 22, 2014
Let me say first that some love this book and to be fair I never read it except to get an idea of the story.(updated:please read what I actually said there. Any book I don't care for enough to finish will usually get a 1 star or at best a 2.) You will find in my books low ratings for Black Beauty, The Yearling, Old Yeller and any books that have the "pain of life motif" in common. By the way this includes Cold Mountain. Look up my review and you'll see I try to give recognition that it's well written but just not a book I can like. And these ratings are how I feel and what I think of these books. Some will say how they love these books and how possibly there was just no other way to "realistically" end the story.

I grew up in the Smokies and without going over my childhood, I had 2 dogs killed...shot. I've lived through the loss of beloved animals, beloved people and beloved relationships...I don't need a novel that leads me through "what pain is". If a book is of the "life is tough and then you die school", it's going to get a "down check" from me. While fiction does instruct, there are some lessons I learned from life, I don't need to have them rehashed in leisure time activities.

The struggle this young man faces and love he feels may in some manner mitigate the pain and loss, there are lessons and we're told that maybe what happened was for an overriding reason, but for me that does little to help what always strikes me as emotional manipulation.
Profile Image for Kendra.
179 reviews
November 21, 2008
We finished it! I read this aloud with my kids and as I read through the final sentences, we were all in tears. I am not talking teary eyes, but body rocking sobs. My six year old did not stop for almost twenty minutes. When he was finished he said it was the greatest story he had ever heard. My eight year old wanted to meet the author and thank him for such a great book. I loved this book and recommend it to everyone. Just read it with a box of tissues nearby.
Profile Image for Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*.
2,473 reviews1,080 followers
September 2, 2017
A young boy dreams of having pets of his own – wait, scratch that to mean dogs of his own because technically they already have a pet cat Sammy. I’m thinking Sammy doesn’t matter much to the family since the dad laughs at the cat limping with injured paws when he accidentally keeps getting his paws injured from Billy’s trap. At least he gets bandaged, but Sammie soon abandons the family when he develops a fear of people (go figure).

The first part of the book is Billy saving up money and working hard to get dogs – not for companionship at first, but hunting partners – and eventually he succeeds in getting both of his goals met – dogs and training them to be strong hunters. Seriously the book has so little plot that I was bored most of the time. It’s an endless cycle of Billy and his dogs hunting down poor raccoons and other animals in the valley. Besides disturbing, it doesn’t hold the interest.

Throw in two tragedies and an unrealistic reward of money that fits the parents goals, and you have this book. Plotless, it isn't a coming of age story, it's a boy who wants dogs so he can hunt raccoons.

There isn’t character development. The mother’s role in the book is to worry about her son being placed into so many dangerous situations while still letting him go into more dangerous situations. The “sisters” are mentioned all the time as being backdrops to cry on demand when they’re upset – but they don’t earn the respect of getting any names or individual personalities. I guess the girls are too alike to bother.

The end tragedy is of course sad but hardly a surprise. What happens is a realistic consequence of having hunting dogs that you keep placing in dangerous situations. What bugged me is the author took the religious tones of the books to an unhealthy level with the father being especially annoying - Spoilers for the end - Of course we get the "man speech" too, which grates me.

Not seeing why the book is a praised classic. I'm leaving it two stars over one because the writing style is actually good and I enjoyed the sense of nostalgia during the opener. Two thumbs down from me.

Profile Image for jv poore.
616 reviews211 followers
June 26, 2022
My 6th grade son told me that I needed to read this book. He said that I would love it. He added, as a slightly sinister second thought, "....and you'll weep."

I think you know that he was right.
Profile Image for Amanda.
107 reviews59 followers
May 24, 2016
"I knelt down and gathered them into my arms. I buried my face between their wiggling bodies and cried. The stationmaster, sensing something more than two dogs and a boy, waited in silence."

Woodrow Wilson Rawls' timeless coming-of-age Classic is a beautifully heartbreaking story and sentimental favorite. Where the Red Fern Grows explores the love between a boy and his dogs and the bond between two dogs. The Disney movie was a staple of my childhood, but I'm still unsure of whether or not I'd ever read the book until now.

Ten-year-old Billy grew up in the Cherokee country in northeastern Oklahoma in the rugged Ozarks. He is infected with the wonderful yet terrible disease of puppy love- not the kind a boy might feel for a pretty girl but the "real kind" for a furry, four-legged friend. Billy's unshakable desire to obtain two hound dogs for coon hunting dominates his existence. His desire is all-consuming, and he works incessantly for two years to save the exorbitant amount of fifty dollars needed to purchase the pups.

I was most moved by the authenticity of the narrative. There is no doubt that many of the aspects of the story are autobiographical including the setting, the knowledge of hunting, and incorporating homeschooling and farming into the plot. I also enjoyed the beautiful description of the natural world that Rawls provided.
I heard the "Bam, bam, bam" of a woodpecker high in the top of a box elder snag. The cry of a kingfisher and the scream of a bluejay blended perfectly with the drumlike beat. A barking red squirrel, glued to the side of a hackberry tree, kept time to the music with the beat of his tail.

I highly recommend this novel to children of all ages, including grown ones, who have ever loved a dog or been inflicted with the "dog-wanting disease." Billy is a wonderful example of character, especially for young children. Among his admirable qualities are humility, determination, generosity, and deep love for his family.

"Men," said Mr. Kyle, "people have been trying to understand dogs ever since the beginning of time. One never knows what they'll do. You can read every day where a dog saved the life of a drowning child, or lay down his life for his master. Some people call this loyalty. I don't. I may be wrong, but I call it love- the deepest kind of love."
"It's a shame that people all over the world can't have that kind of love in their hearts," he said. "There would be no wars, slaughter, or murder; no greed or selfishness. It would be the kind of world that God wants us to have- a wonderful world."

Almost equally as interesting was the life story of the author. Rawls was born in 1913 in Oklahoma. He had little interest in reading until he was introduced to Jack London's The Call of the Wild. He decided then to become a writer and wrote on any scraps of paper he could find. The family left Oklahoma and headed for California in 1935 during the Depression and ended up settling in New Mexico after their car broke down. In 1958 when Rawls became engaged, he burned all of his manuscripts because he was ashamed of his writing and lack of formal education. When his wife Sophie learned of his dream, she encouraged him to rewrite his story. She corrected his grammar and punctuation, and Where the Red Fern Grows was published in 1961.

Profile Image for s.penkevich.
962 reviews6,806 followers
July 10, 2023
^^turns out this was the very first thing I ever wrote on goodreads and honestly, I’d already peaked.
Profile Image for Jonathan Ashleigh.
Author 1 book118 followers
November 7, 2016
I read this book when I was in grade school and it always stuck out as an effortless read. I still remember the storyline and the characters and the ending was magical.
Profile Image for Amora.
198 reviews150 followers
July 17, 2020
A very tender story that changed the way I viewed fiction. I, like many others, read this book while I was in elementary school. During this time I wasn’t really interested in academics and much less in specifically reading. However, my view on books changed when our teacher read this book to us. I wasn’t until I started reading books from John Green that I finally started giving fiction a read but this book still nonetheless changed my view. Shame Wilson Rawls didn’t made any other novels as popular as this one.
Profile Image for STEPH.
264 reviews22 followers
March 18, 2022
I knew from the get-go that reading this book would crush my heart. And it did, a million times.

This book was a different kind of adventure for me. The country life, up in the mountains by the river. It felt genuinely warm and peaceful. The main character Billy is astonishing! I admire his heart, his determination and sheer will power.

My heart completely broke for Old Dan and Little Ann. I thought about the abandoned, abused and neglected animals—cats, dogs, pets that some people choose to reject and throw away. How these animals only ever wanted to be loved, in return, they give us one of the purest love a human could ever hope to have. As an animal lover, a cat lady, I wish for a world that cares and equally respect these creatures.

An emotional book, a heartbreaking journey of friendship and loyalty, of a pure bond of family, of boyhood and grief.

Profile Image for Melki.
6,029 reviews2,385 followers
January 19, 2019
"I'll never forget you; and this I know - if God made room in heaven for all good dogs, I know he made a special place for you."

This is my first go-round with this fine, and affecting classic. I thoroughly enjoyed it, though I hope to never again hear the word entrails repeated so many times . . . particularly in a book aimed at younger readers.

Profile Image for Calista.
4,062 reviews31.3k followers
September 13, 2018
Let me get out of the way my biases. I grew up in Arkansas on the east side in the flat farm lands. This story is set in the west side of the state in the Ozarks. I am not overly fond of the local accent and Wilson Rawls does a fantastic job with the dialogue. It made me feel like I was back in the area. The other Bias I have is against the word 'coon. I can't stand that for some reason. I mean it makes my skin crawl. The proper word is Raccoon. That is the name. This book spends the entire book talking about 'coons. I wanted to drop kick it at points if I had to hear that word again.

My final bias is, if you didn't know, I am a tree hugger. Yes, I love the glories of a beautiful tree, especially a giant tall beauty that holds hundreds of years of the Earth's memories in it. One of the first hunting scenes with the dogs is a raccoon was treed in the giant and biggest sycamore tree in the valley. It stood above them all. This is the moment Wilson decides to make Man vs Nature and Billy decides he made a promise to his dogs so of course he has to cut the tree down. There is a whole chapter devoted to him chopping this tree down. It caused me physical pain. All because his boy wants a silly raccoon. He can't tree it later. I was rip-roaring mad. I spit and I was cursing during this scene. I mean it. My blood was boiling and I almost quit the book.

The tree falls, the dogs rip apart the raccoon and that's it. Billy feels guilty about it, well whoopty-do. They didn't try and use the wood or sell the wood, oh no, they left the thing to rot. I could see cutting down a small tree, maybe since they live in a wood, but cutting down the giant - oh, I wanted to do something. I know this happens everyday and I can't be around it. I also know a tree has consciousness of it's own and it's sad to cut them for no reason and nut honor them in some way. It was sacrilege. It was because it was such a huge plot point that it really colored the story for me.

OK, that is now out of the way. So, the characters were very well done for who they were. Billy's mother needed to have more control over him. Letting Billy roam the woods all night long with mountain lions around - crazy.

I did love the legend of the Red fern from the Indians.

The book sets it up well, so that the reader connects with the dogs and Billy and cares about them in my opinion. The end really rips your heart out.

I like the theme of belief and doubt that is going on. About the pains of life and searching for understanding in things we don't understand and aren't fair. I do think this was very well written with a strong story arch. Billy learns a lot about life during this time of his life. It's a very well written book I think, even if it drives me crazy. I am surprised it didn't win the Newbery. I don't get how it works.

I was so caught up in the story at the end that I didn't even notice the word 'coon. It is a great ending. I don't really get why people would want to hunt raccoon's, but I guess they did and ok. Just don't cut down the big trees.

I think this is an excellent work of fiction for middle grade readers and above. My biases get in the way of more stars. It really is a story for boys or anyone who likes hunting. It's not a story for me, although I can appreciate Billy's journey. It should have more stars, but I can give it 3. There are too many buttons pushed for me to give it more at this point.

I did see the movie in my childhood, so I did know this was going to tug at my heart. It still has the power to do that, so it's still doing something right. It is a timeless tale in many ways.
Profile Image for Engineous.
13 reviews8 followers
March 11, 2010
The synopsis: a boy gets two purebred hunting dogs, goes around hunting animals. Usually succeeds in killing them, although occasionally it stops at mutilation. Ends up getting his dogs killed because he's too selfish to rethink his actions and ethics. Other stuff happens too, but mostly torturing animals. Often given to kids. Unless you like sociopaths, don't.

God, what an awful book. I read this when I was nine for a school assignment - I remember loving it. I revisited it several years later, after I'd learned what "animal cruelty" meant, and I was really appalled at how Rawls ends up saying exactly the opposite of what he thought he was saying. The kid was a selfish, narcissistic hunter who decided that his own life was worth more than his quote-unquote "beloved" dogs.

Dear Mr. Rawls,

If you love someone? You don't put them in situations where they'll be forced to sacrifice their life for you. Also, to continually do this isn't noble, either.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for RachelAnne.
606 reviews72 followers
December 10, 2013
Profile Image for Johann (jobis89).
671 reviews4,286 followers
April 6, 2019
“You can read every day where a dog saved the life of a drowning child, or lay down his life for his master. Some people call this loyalty. I don’t. I may be wrong, but I call it love - the deepest kind of love.”

A story of a young boy and his two dogs who become the finest hunting team in the valley.

And the crying continues..... As I made my way through this one, I felt like I wasn’t THAT attached to the characters and that everyone who told me I’d bawl my eyes out was wrong... but y’all were right. I was crying my goddamn heart out by the end!

I’ve never had a dog. I love Barney like he is mine, but boy do I want my own dog... and so when the book opens with our protagonist Billy yearning for some puppers, I felt that on a deep level. He works his butt off and saves up every cent he gets to be able to buy his own dogs, the specific breed of dog he wants, and the moment when he first meets them... my heart!!

And the dogs themselves are so sweet! Old Dan and Little Ann, with their own personalities and traits. Gah, so cute. However, this is the point in the book where I kinda lost interest every now and again - there’s only so much I can read about hunting for raccoons. Descriptions of landscapes and running through the woods just becomes tedious after a while. Sorry! However, there are some parts interspersed throughout that are quite tense and one event in particular really took me by surprise! So it was a mixed bag I guess.

But it all culminates in one of the most heartbreaking endings I’ve ever read. I had sent Matthew a photo of my red, blotchy, tear-streaked face when I finished, and the next day when I was filling him in on what happened, I could feel myself choking on my words, as the tears brimmed in my eyes again. So yeah. This book rips your heart out!

Oh, and the story about the red fern and how it ties into the story is fucking BEAUTIFUL. Some of the most stunning imagery I’ve read in a book.

Teachers who teach this to school-age children - you are goddamn masochists!!

3.5 stars.
Profile Image for Ron.
394 reviews96 followers
October 25, 2018
The bug that is called constantly reading didn't hit me until 6th grade/junior high school (note: they call it middle school these days - I was recently schooled on that point by my friend's son and the glazed look that came over his face). Anyway, when I really started reading for pleasure it was The Call of the Wild that I read, followed immediately by White Fang, and then back to Old Yeller again – because my search for another book about man's/boy's best friend in my small school library had run dry. Frankly, the ending of Old Yeller killed me, but I loved it for what it got right – that deep affection a boy (or girl) can have for a dog.

So if I had found and read Where the Red Fern Grows back then, the resulting tears would have been much like those other books, but I'd have loved it too. I know that because that boy's affection still lives inside of me. There may be a picture of my cat on my profile, but the first pet that became my own was a dog. We didn't hunt through fields like Billy does with Old Dan and Little Ann. What we did do that's like Billy and his dogs was create an unshakable bond. I knew what he was thinking, he knew what I was, or so a boy believes. When Billy gives his all for the life of his dogs, and visa versa – I understand. All in. He's such a good example for readers, young and old alike. His love is not selfish. It is giving. And the dogs? They are loyal through and through. Dogs always are. In the beginning of the book, an older Billy looks back to his childhood, remembering every moment shared with those two redbone hounds. Because he had not forgotten where the red fern grows. No, you never do.
Profile Image for Marci.
215 reviews
July 13, 2008
There are a handful of books we read as children that so completely capture our hearts we cannot and would not ever forget them. Where the Red Fern Grows is such a book. An elementary teacher read this book to my class when I was in about third grade, beginning for me a love that has seen me through many personal readings, with even more readings to my own students through the course of my career as an elementary teacher.

What most people do not know is that this classic tale of a boy and his hunting dogs was actually written twice. Author Wilson Rawls wrote it the first time and was so sure that it was no good that he threw it away. When friends and family learned of his misdeed they encouraged him to write it again. He did and the rest, as they say, is children's fiction history.

This is one of those books that belongs on every child's book shelf. This classic tale of a boy and his 2 dogs is perfect for parents to read to their children. Make sure a box of tissue is handy. I still can't read the ending without shedding many tears.
Profile Image for Ian.
1,364 reviews188 followers
February 3, 2015
Well. This book is terrible! I was told it had positive message and was filled with life lessons. Life lessons? Life Lessons!!! Why that boy and his dogs chased us all over the place and you don't want to know what happened when he caught us. No siree.



My cousin Rocky in the minutes before he was caught by Billy. (hands clearly up in surrender)

Profile Image for Spider the Doof Warrior.
433 reviews238 followers
June 20, 2013
This is one of those books I liked so much better when I was a kid. Reading it in junior high school it was the story of a little boy who wanted hunting dogs so he can hunt raccoons. He worked hard, saved up money, got his dogs, encountered a wild cat, taught the dogs how to hunt, and you had a poignant tender story of a boy running wild and happy in the Appalachians until tragedy strikes. I liked it when I was a kid.

Reading this book as an adult on the other hand, there were several things that annoyed me. First of all, the fact that the father would have taken the money his kid worked hard for to buy a donkey when he earned the money himself with no help from his father. There's the fact that his sisters aren't named in the book. His cutting down of an old beautiful sycamore tree just to catch a raccoon.
But the main thing that bothers me, besides a kid being killed with an ax was the gruesome way the dog's died and the mother's explanation for it.
Now, if the dogs had to die so the family could stay together in the city, was there any reason for the dogs to die so horribly? One dog had his guts ripped out, the other dog died of grief. Couldn't they have just gone in their sleep or something?
Now before I get a Greek chorus of people talking about what a bleeding heart liberal I am, I still can't understand for the life of me why in so many books a child's beloved pet has to die in order for the child, especially a boy to grow up. I'm still traumatized from losing my rabbit several months ago, and that was a deeply depressing death. If I had a child who had to watch our pets pass away there's no way I'd say "God took them." even if I was religious because you'd just turn a child against God and with good reason.
All that ranting aside, as an adult, I really don't like this book as much as I did when I was a kid. It's just too hokey for me.
Plus I just hate the idea of killing those raccoons. I just know a bunch of folks will go, you're a tree hugging liberal hippy, America hating, down home country loathing Communist, terrorist supporting swine for not liking this book, but what can I do?
I liked it when I was younger.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Ashley Daviau.
1,803 reviews794 followers
May 20, 2019
I wasn’t expecting this book to hit me so deep in the feelings but it absolutely did. It’s just such a beautiful and touching story, you can’t help but feel the determination and the pain and everything the main character goes through as if you were going through it yourself. It felt like my heart was being torn to shreds multiple times and I wasn’t sure I’d ever recover. And I mean that in the best way possible of course! This book is an absolute treasure and definitely one that I’ll revisit many times in years to come.
Profile Image for Charles  van Buren.
1,768 reviews194 followers
January 3, 2023
A modern classic

A semi-autobiographical novel of a boy and his pair of Redbone Coonhounds. Growing up in a poor family on a small farm in the Ozarks, neither ten year old Billy nor his family can afford to buy his heart's desire, a pair of coon hounds. He works and saves for two years to raise the $50 to buy the dogs.

He trains the pair to hunt coons, that is racoons. Eventually they become two of the finest coon dogs in the country. After many adventures Billy, his pa and granpa take the hounds to a coon hound championship.

The story is full of pathos, courage, love, grief, joy, Christian faith and heart warming family and dog adventures. A word of warning to the overly sensitive: This is a bitter sweet tale. The dogs are hunting dogs. There are multiple scenes of hunting and death. And as any dog lover knows, dogs don't live forever.

I will admit that at least one tear came to my eye near the end. The same with the fine movie based on the book.
Profile Image for Ginger.
786 reviews364 followers
July 31, 2023
Looks like I need to buy some redbone coonhounds!

When my husband was a kid, this was a favorite of his. I can see why since it’s a plot about a teenaged boy hunting raccoons with his two favorite dogs.

I’m glad I finally got to this classic.

Even if you’re not big into dogs, reading about hillbillies in the Ozarks, or could care less about raccoon hunting, you’ll still get something from this tale.

It’s a love story for anyone that has loved a dog before.
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