Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

79%

14 Critic Reviews

The rapport between the boy and his companions, the wonders of prowling the Ozark woods, the pursuit of ringtails, the simplicity of the Oklahoma life make this a book of unadorned naturalness for an audience with an outdoor bent.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

For fans of Old Yeller and Shiloh, Where the Red Fern Grows is a beloved classic that captures the powerful bond between man and man’s best friend.
 
   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.
 
Praise for Where the Red Fern Grows
 
A Top 100 Children’s Novel, School Library Journal's A Fuse #8 Production
A Must-Read for Kids 9 to 14, NPR
Winner of Multiple State Awards
Over 7 million copies in print!
 
“A rewarding book . . . [with] careful, precise observation, all of it rightly phrased.” —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
 
“A brilliant literary work.” —TeenInk.com
 
“We tear up just thinking about it.” —Time on the film adaptation

 

About Wilson Rawls

See more books from this Author
Wilson Rawls grew up on a small farm in the Ozark Mountains of Oklahoma. There were no schools where he lived so his mother taught Rawls and his sisters how to read and write. He says that reading the book The Call of the Wild changed his life and gave him the notion that he would like to grow up to write a book like it. He shared his dream with his father, and his father gave him the encouraging advice, "Son, a man can do anything he sets out to do, if he doesn't give up." Rawls never forgot his father's words, and went on to create two novels about his boyhood that have become modern classics.
 
Published January 12, 2011 by Laurel Leaf. 258 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Children's Books, Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Humor & Entertainment, History. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Where the Red Fern Grows
All: 14 | Positive: 14 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Good
on May 26 1980

The rapport between the boy and his companions, the wonders of prowling the Ozark woods, the pursuit of ringtails, the simplicity of the Oklahoma life make this a book of unadorned naturalness for an audience with an outdoor bent.

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Examiner

Good
Reviewed by Cindi Rose on May 14 2012

A classic story of a ten-year-old boy named Billy Colman and his two Redbone Coonhounds, Old Dan and Little Annie, is one that bears reading by children and adults from all walks of life

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by jevans on Feb 26 2014

I enjoyed the book ''Where the red fern grows'' because it was a hunting book in which inspires children to work for what they want...

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Teen Ink

Above average
Reviewed by Zach H on Jan 28 2014

...Billy packs a sack full of things he would need for hiking and sets off without telling his parents so he can buy what he’s been waiting for, his very own coon dogs. The reason I like this book is because I like reading books set back in the day and it also teaches life lessons such as responsibility and trust.

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Teen Ink

Above average
Reviewed by Jessica C on Nov 02 2012

The book Where the Red Fern Grows is an awesome book that tells the life of and 11-year-old boy who desperately wants dogs of his own...I like how the story is told, from the point of view of the older man, its like the whole story is a flashback.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by (Drew) on Nov 28 2009

Rawl’s memorable tale is appealing on many levels, and it intrigued me. The beautiful theme, compelling protagonist, devastating climax, and amazing application of morals combine to form a brilliant literary work...Where the Red Fern Grows delivers emotion on a soul-affecting level.

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EzineArticles

Above average
Reviewed by Larry Lynn on Jun 28 2010

This story awakened in me many things I didn't know about raccoons, a lot I did know about dogs, and left me questioning the possibility of a more powerful force than Nature that takes care of its own...Old Dan and Little Ann were not dogs. The more I ran with them throughout the story the more they became a part of my reminiscence...

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The Blue Bookcase

Good
Reviewed by Christina on Mar 28 2011

Briefly: the writing is good- Billy's voice and the dialogue are fittingly old-timey. He uses lots of cleverly childish similes for physical manifestations of emotion...There is a LOT of hunting...Reading Recommendations: Definitely pick this one up if you are 9-13 years old.

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Book Nut

Above average
on Jun 08 2010

The amount of freedom and determination Billy had was amazing. Granted it's a different time, but I'm sure my girls would love that amount of freedom to wander...it stood up to the test of time, and the reread. It wasn't depressing, and it's incredibly well-written: descriptive and evocative. Very, very good.

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Reading Rants

Good
Reviewed by Jen on May 03 2007

It’s got a lot of old-fashioned sweetness and determination, with some murder, a wild cougar, and a thrilling car chase, I mean coon race, thrown in. This novel does away with the syrupy morality of both Black Beauty and Shiloh and gives you a real feel for the depth of love that can happen between people and animals.

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Nerdy Book Club

Good
Reviewed by CBethM on Sep 06 2012

This is just my favorite book from when I was a kid. I just love it so much. But it’s really sad...Not only did it teach me the power of the read aloud, but it taught me to work hard for what you want, compassion for others, about family, and about love. And that dogs truly are man’s best friend.

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Nightly Reading

Above average
Reviewed by H. Lee on Jan 02 2014

This was really my first dealing with death of any kind...I think that is why I fell in love with the story at that age. Due to the emotional attachment I had with the characters and the dogs. It made me feel things that I wasn’t privy to and it was exciting!

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Planet Books

Excellent
Reviewed by planetbooks on Jun 25 2008

Though I needed a box of tissues to get through the end of the book, I loved every exhilarating, loving and heartbreaking word...I read this book as a child and I would recommend anyone from the fourth grade and above to read this magical tale of unconditional love you can only find with man’s best friend.

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Ten Stories Up

Excellent
Reviewed by Lindsey Carmichael on Apr 29 2010

Billy earns his own money, saving $50 over the course of two years, and pays for Old Dan and Little Ann all by himself. And thus begins an amazing, edge-of-the-seat adventure...I wholeheartedly recommend Red Fern to kids who love animals, kids who love adventure, and anyone who enjoyed Anna Sewell's Black Beauty.

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Reader Rating for Where the Red Fern Grows
90%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 4799 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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