December 2, 2009

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

BOOK #: 85
REASON READ: A Colorful Reading Challenge
PUBLISHER: Random House Children's Books
GENRE: Children's Book/Young Adult Fiction/Ages 9+
FORMAT/PAGES: Paperback/256
RATING: 4.5 Stars

I read Where the Red Fern Grows several times in my youth and decided it would be lovely to re-read it for my Red entry in the Colorful Reading Challenge. The story is about a boy named Billy and his two dogs, Old Dan and Little Ann. Billy teaches his dogs, which he raises the money to buy himself, to hunt raccoons. They soon find adventure in the dark hills of the country. Like the cover says, "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..."

The story of Billy and his two dogs was just as good to me now as it was when I was ten years old. I feared the red eyes in the dark, I celebrated the team's achievements, and I cried once again when tragedy strikes. I connected with Billy in a different way this time. When I read the book before, I had never lost someone close to me, I had never had pets, and I had never poured my heart and soul into something before- not really. This time when I read it I knew exactly how Billy felt and I think it made the story even more real to me. The Cherokee story of the red fern was even more beautiful to me, too. I do wonder, though, why in the book Little Ann and Old Dan are Redbone Coonhounds and the dogs on the cover clearly are not. Reminds me of the whole "Liar" book cover fiasco where there is a total disconnect between the cover and the story.

I think that this book is a must-read for every young adult and I think that it is worth a re-visit as an adult, too. But you'll have to get your own copy. I am keeping my 5th grade copy to read again one day!

14 comments:

  1. I never read this ... can you believe it???

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  2. I read this as a fourth grader and I absolutely bawled! It was a great book, but I'm such a softy, it was really hard to get through.

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  3. I read this book when I was pretty young. I liked it well enough until dying part. :(

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  4. I was sure I had read this book, but your review is making me wonder if I really have. What a great 'red' choice. I'm going to check my old books the next time I'm home and see if I can dig it up.

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  5. My fifth grade teacher read this to our class and all us girls were crying so hard. Then I read it myself and cried my eyes out again. I don't think I could ever read it again. It's just too sad. Good, but sad.

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  6. I have heard of the book but never read it. However, I lived in a different country my whole childhood and young adulthood so that would explain it somewhat. Anyway, it seems like a good story and I will definitely be putting it on my list of books I missed out on.

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  7. My fifth grade teacher read this to the class. I'm 44 now, and I *still* cry when I think about it! It really is a great book, but I'll never, ever read it again. I'm a sissy. :-)

    Lezlie

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  8. I've never read this and don't think my son has either. I'm wondering how we could have missed it.

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  9. I just read this for the first time a couple of years ago and cried for about 2 days!!!

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  10. There's nothing quite as wonderful as a novel that was a childhood favorite!

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  11. The author Patrick Somerville gave a speech at our bookstore's grand opening a couple of weeks ago that centered around this book and how it impacted his life . Since then, I've wanted to read it :-)

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  12. I cry every time I read this one, too.

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  13. This is one I never read while growing up, but it sounds like it still works for adults too.

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  14. Somehow I missed this one growing up, but I have sworn off animal books tht will make me cry. I get way to emotional.

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