Where the Red Fern Grows

Where the Red Fern Grows

Book - 2016
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"Billy has long dreamt of owning not one, but two, dogs. So when he’s finally able to save up enough money for two pups to call his own--Old Dan and Little Ann--he’s ecstatic. It doesn’t matter that times are tough; together they’ll roam the hills of the Ozarks. Soon Billy and his hounds become the finest hunting team in the valley. Stories of their great achievements spread throughout the region, and the combination of Old Dan’s brawn, Little Ann’s brains, and Billy’s sheer will seems unbeatable. But tragedy awaits these determined hunters--now friends--and Billy learns that hope can grow out of despair, and that the seeds of the future can come from the scars of the past."--Online description.
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Delacorte Press, 2016, c1961.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780399551239
Call Number: RAWLS
Characteristics: 212 p. ; 20 cm.
Subjects: Dogs -- Fiction.
Friendship -- Fiction.
Human-animal relationships -- Fiction.
Hunting stories.
Ozark Mountains -- Fiction.


From the critics

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Aug 17, 2018

Classic. Read it with both my children. It doesn't matter how many times I read this book, it is so touching. A masterpiece. A must read for everyone.

Jun 09, 2018

Oh my gosh, so sad! Really good book though.

Apr 15, 2018

SUPER good book!!! if you love animals and you don't know what to read you have to read this one!! A classic! Every1 would enjoy this great novel!!

SPPL_Violet Mar 26, 2018

I read this book in fourth grade, and it made me cry. So, after I came back from lunch I found a bunch of loose tissues on my desk, and all the boys in my class made fun of me for the rest of the week by making a cry face.

Jan 30, 2018

This book was recommended as a good read by a captain in the United States Army. He read it years ago and still cherishes the story and the learning lessons.

I found it to be a heartwarming story of love between a young boy and the dogs he worked very hard to purchase. The love and support of his parents, sisters, and grandfather adds to the beauty of the book. Billy was taught to work hard and reap the rewards of it. He faced joy and sadness throughout the book.

The author did an excellent job of pulling the reader into the story from the very beginning.

This book reminded me of The Rufus Chronicle Another Autumn by Charles Gusewelle.

I highly recommend reading both books!

Jan 25, 2018

I was read this to in grade four, and recently picking it up I remembered why I loved it so much. Where the Red Fern Grows covers topics of loyalty, bonds, love and loss into a beautiful package. Billy Colman, the main protagonist, and his relationship with his coonhound pups was one to be idolized and respected. It was so sweet and touching to see this display of affection between the trio, and the adventures they faced together. I cried and felt joy throughout this novel, and have to put out a disclaimer that this is a very sorrowful book. There are themes of violence and sadness but it is a must read and a classic to be treasured for years to come. Rating 4/5
- @jewelreader of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

Aug 14, 2017

I loved this book. I read this when I was in grade 4 and I remember most of my class cried, including me. I would recomend this book to anyone and I am so happy my teacher assigned this book for our class.

Jun 07, 2017

My 5th grade teacher read this to my class years ago. I remember the entire class begging her to let us skip recess so we could find out what happens next. Now I'm reading it to my kids (4th and 6th graders). Amazing book (and an amazing 5th grade teacher!)

Apr 04, 2017

This book is so amazing. I've read it so many times that I can't count them. The book is so sweet and touching. I've always loved dogs, but these dogs were amazing. I loved their relationship with Billy and with each other. I cried so hard at the end. I cry every time I read it. Love this book.

Sep 29, 2016

For nearly 40 years now I believed this was the first novel I ever read. I just remember driving across the country facing backwards in a brown on tan 1972 station wagon and reading an incredible book about a boy hunting pheasants. After reading this, I'm pretty sure it must have been another book because this was just an average piece about hunting raccoons. For some reason my second book, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was not age appropriate but I loved it even more. I had no clue back then how Ken Kesey, mental illness and reading would all play such vital roles in my vocation and avocation over the years.

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Jun 28, 2018

Always_a_MarySue thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Apr 04, 2017

chrisbrock thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Orange_Horse_142003 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 99

Aug 06, 2013

andryjay thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over

May 31, 2013

red_turtle_234 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

May 31, 2013

green_deer_118 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

May 31, 2013

black_lion_304 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Feb 05, 2013

xinyiliu thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Orange_Moose_10 May 31, 2012

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May 10, 2012

dixiedog thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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Add Notices

Aug 11, 2017

Frightening or Intense Scenes: There are a couple. Someone accidentally gets killed in chapter 13.

Feb 12, 2013

Violence: .

Dec 15, 2010

Violence: This title contains Violence.


Add a Summary

Feb 05, 2009

The adult Billy Colman narrates his childhood memories. Living with his Papa and Mama and three sisters in the Ozark Mountains in Oklahoma, all 10-year-old Billy wants is two hounds with whom he can hunt "coons" (raccoons). His family cannot afford them, however, so Billy works odd jobs for two years and saves up the money to buy them. Only then does he tell his plan to his Grandpa, who helps arrange the purchase.

After an initial adventure in which they scare off a mountain lion, Billy and his two hounds - a small, intelligent female dog he names Little Ann and a stronger, determined male dog he calls Old Dan - are inseparable. They learn all the angles of coon hunting and make a great team; no wily coon can outsmart Little Ann, and Old Dan is strong and sure. More than that, the dogs seem bonded to each other, and to Billy, in mysterious ways. Both dogs' lives are endangered at different points, but with bravery and intelligence they all help each other out of jams.

One day, the cruel, trouble-making Pritchard boys bet Billy that his dogs, whose reputations grow with each new coonskin, cannot "tree" (chase up a tree, at which point the hunter usually chops down the tree) the elusive "ghost coon" in their neck of the woods. On the hunt, the elder Rubin accidentally falls on Billy's ax as he tries to kill Billy's dogs (who are fighting the Pritchards' dog). The incident haunts Billy.

To cheer Billy up, Grandpa enters him in a championship coon hunt. Billy, Grandpa, and Papa go to the contest. Immediately, Little Ann wins the beauty contest. Billy qualifies for the championship round in which his dogs bag three coons, but a blizzard sets in as they chase away a fourth one necessary for the win. The men eventually find the half-frozen dogs circling a treed coon. When they kill the fourth coon, they win the championship and the $300 jackpot.

The family is ecstatic over Billy's success, and Mama is especially grateful for the money. But some weeks after the championship, Billy and the dogs encounter a mountain lion. The dogs save Billy's life, and they manage to kill it, but not before it inflicts serious damage on Old Dan. He dies, and without him, Little Ann loses the will to live and dies a few days later. Billy buries them next to each other and cannot understand why God took them from him.

With the money the dogs have earned over time from the coonskins and the jackpot, the family can finally move to town in the spring and the children can receive an education. On the day they move, Billy revisits his dogs' graves. He finds a red fern has sprouted up between the two mounds. He knows the Indian legend about a little boy and girl who had been lost in a blizzard and froze to death. When their bodies were found in the spring, a red fern had sprouted between them. As the legend goes, only an angel can plant the seeds of a red fern, which never dies and makes the spot sacred.

The adult Billy reflects that he would like to revisit the Ozarks and all his childhood haunts. He is sure the red fern is still there, larger now, for he believes its legend.


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