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  Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

Review by: Joshua G.
Pennsylvania, Grade 10

Where the Red Fern Grows is an inspirational and touching novel that offers not only a great story, but many life lessons, as well. Written in 1961 by author Wilson Rawls, this book is considered a novel for children and young adults, but provides an excellent read for people of any age. I know I have enjoyed it at many ages of my own!

In the book, you will become acquainted with Billy; a young adolescent being raised in poverty in the Ozark Mountains. Billy lives with his parents and his three younger siblings, all girls, on the family farm. Although times are tough, this is a home where love and a sense of family abound. Billy has one great dream in a time where dreams are few and that is to own a pair of Redbone Coonhound hunting dogs. His parents certainly cannot afford to finance this ambition, as much as they may want to. There is a collie that they can get from one of the neighboring farmers for him, but that is not the dream and Billy will settle for nothing less than the hounds he can visualize in his heart and his mind.

As tempting as it would be for those with lesser ambition to lose sight of their goal, that is not what Billy does. He keeps right on hoping and right on praying for those two hounds that he knows are in his future. He eventually finds an advertisement for the dogs for sale while he is fishing. His heart becomes even more set on the notion of acquiring the pups and he begins to do odd jobs, including selling essentials like bait and food to the local fishermen.

After two long years of saving every penny possible, Billy has enough to order the dogs. Too excited to wait for the delivery, Billy sets out on foot to pick them up from the train station. This leads to some adventures of its own, but Billy does indeed finally get his dogs. He names them Little Ann and Old Dan and proceeds to train them in the fine art of coon hunting.

The two pups are Billy's life and he spends every minute he can with them. Old Dan is the strength and Little Ann is the brains of the team. With Billy as their trainer, they come up with some unusual techniques for getting the coons that turn out to be very successful. Billy wins local fame with his dogs as they grow and mature. I am not going to go any further with the plot because I donít want to ruin the ending so I hope you enjoyed reading my review.

I liked this book, it made me tear up a bit when the dogs died but other than that it was ok. I would recommend this book to readers of all ages, especially young kids in middle and elementary school.

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