Where the Red Fern Grows

Written by: Wilson Rawls

Where the Red Fern Grows Book Cover
A loving threesome, they ranged the dark hills and river bottoms of Cherokee country. Old Dan had the brawn. Little Ann had the brains, and Billy had the will to make them into the finest hunting team in the valley. Glory and victory were coming to them, but sadness waited too. Where the Red Fern Grows is an exciting tale of love and adventure you'll never forget.
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Where the Red Fern Grows Reviews

Will
This book did nothing for me. I forced myself to finish it. Perhaps I should have read it as an adolescent?

Full disclosure: I'm a cat person.

The story follows a young hillbilly, named Billy (how fitting!) as he obsesses about getting some 'pups' but not just any old pups, he wants Redbone Coonhounds which cost ~$50 or so. His family is poor and live in the country (plus this book was written in the early '60s) so that monetary figure is no small amount. I wouldn't say it's a spoiler to inform y This book did nothing for me. I forced myself to finish it. Perhaps I should have read it as an adolescent?

Full disclosure: I'm a cat person.

The story follows a young hillbilly, named Billy (how fitting!) as he obsesses about getting some 'pups' but not just any old pups, he wants Redbone Coonhounds which cost ~$50 or so. His family is poor and live in the country (plus this book was written in the early '60s) so that monetary figure is no small amount. I wouldn't say it's a spoiler to inform you that he eventually gets his pups after selling the skins of animals for 2+ years.

Bulk of the book is about Billy and his coon hounds Old Dan and Little Ann huntin' some coooons! Not sure what the coons did to them, but their constant pursuit is relentless. I am not from the country, so I cannot relate; city boy through and through. But that is pretty much the narrative over the course of 200+ pages. Shoot me.

There was a review somewhere on this page where someone jokingly said that Billy came on a bit strong with his obsession of getting 'pups', and I have to say I completely agree. It was almost unbelievable. My advice: steer clear of Billy, his coon hounds, and their fern.
Mizuki
It is one of the "children books" I read as a kid. Yes, back to the good old days when books for children and teenagers want their readers to learn some lessons of life: coming of age, the meaning of love, friendship and kinship, how to face the world and oneself, how to be brave and face the most difficult to face: loss of loved ones, suffering, illness, death.

Those were the days, my friend.
Steve Lowe
I read this book in grade school and can still remember coming to the woefully sad climax, sitting in a smoky, crowded bowling alley for my mom's league night, blubbering over poor Old Dan and Little Ann.

I would probably still cry if I read this again today. I'm a giant baby.
Drina Ballerina :: Drina Goes on Tour :: Drina Dances Again :: Drina Dances in Switzerland :: The Far Pavilions
Libby
I enjoyed reading this book. I learned a lot about Billy and his dogs Little Dan and Little Ann. This is one of my favorite books.
Anna
My son's 4th grade teacher is reading this book out loud to the class. He got off the bus with a sad face and told me they got to the "sad" part of the book. And then he insisted that I take him to the book store to buy it. He just had to have the book and to finish it. He read it from cover to cover and couldn't put it down. He emphatically told me that he gave this book 5 out of 5 stars.
Shilpa bagla
When I was a kid I always wanted a dog but my father never agreed to it and so I can say that I sympathise with Billy.This book is a remarkable tale about love,loyalty and loss.It is the story of Billy and his two hounds Little Ann and Dan who help and protect Billy at every point.This book tells the Heartbreaking story of child's love for his pets and the pets loyalty towards not only Billy but each other.This book is a good read for I think people of all age and not just children.

“After the l When I was a kid I always wanted a dog but my father never agreed to it and so I can say that I sympathise with Billy.This book is a remarkable tale about love,loyalty and loss.It is the story of Billy and his two hounds Little Ann and Dan who help and protect Billy at every point.This book tells the Heartbreaking story of child's love for his pets and the pets loyalty towards not only Billy but each other.This book is a good read for I think people of all age and not just children.

“After the last shovel of dirt was patted in place, I sat down and let my mind drift back through the years. I thought of the old K. C. Baking Powder can, and the first time I saw my pups in the box at the depot. I thought of the fifty dollars, the nickels and dimes, and the fishermen and blackberry patches.

I looked at his grave and, with tears in my eyes, I voiced these words: "You were worth it, old friend, and a thousand times over.”

“I buried Little Ann by the side of Old Dan. I knew that was where she wanted to be. I also buried a part of my life along with my dog.”


This is the type of book that even after reading it stays with for a very long time.Everyone can learn something from this book.This book shows us that even animals have feeling and even animals can love us deeply and sacrifice their lives for us.

“I had heard the old Indian legend about the red fern. How a little Indian boy and girl were lost in a blizzard and had frozen to death. In the spring, when they were found, a beautiful red fern had grown up between their two bodies. The story went on to say that only an angel could plant the seeds of a red fern, and that they never died; where one grew, that spot was sacred.”

Billy belonged to a poor family and he wanted to have two hounds as pets but his father couldn't afford to buy them.So for two years Billy worked hard and saved every dime to buy two dogs whom he named Ann and Dan.this shows that if we work very hard with determination we too can achieve our dreams.Billy came to love his dogs a lot and they loved him a lot too.Soon this remarkable trio was off having some sort of adventures every time.The story is well written and if flows smoothly.Though there are instances of violence,this book is really good and I think a must read book specially if you love animals!
Madison
Where the Red Fern Grows is an emotional rollercoaster of a story that follows a young boy Billy and his two hunting dogs, Old Dan and Little Anne. This book is a tale of puppy-love of the strongest variety. I had originally read this book in the fifth grade. To this day I remember the suspense that the hunting scenes brought and the tears that I cried when it all ended. I did not have the same emotional experience when I reread the book as a sophomore in college. The suspense was no longer the Where the Red Fern Grows is an emotional rollercoaster of a story that follows a young boy Billy and his two hunting dogs, Old Dan and Little Anne. This book is a tale of puppy-love of the strongest variety. I had originally read this book in the fifth grade. To this day I remember the suspense that the hunting scenes brought and the tears that I cried when it all ended. I did not have the same emotional experience when I reread the book as a sophomore in college. The suspense was no longer there as I knew how the book would end. That being said, I still connected to the characters on some level and did have an emotional response to the highs and lows Rawls created.
In my opinion, this book is most effective the first time it is read. While reading the book I was bracing myself for what I knew was coming rather than letting myself become attached to the characters. I also feel that this book is more appropriate for upper-elementary and middle school students. Being an older reader, I felt that some of the scenes that involved conflict were a bit trite and too-easily resolved. That being said, they are written in a way that is beneficial for younger readers who are still learning communication and conflict-resolution skills.
Overall, I would recommend this book for the aforementioned age group but not for any older readers. Wilson Rawls does an expert job of creating lovable characters and exciting situations that could make the most stubborn, young anti-reader involved in his story. Where the Read Fern Grows deals with important themes such as dealing with adversity, friendship, perseverance, love and death in a way that elementary readers can comprehend and learn from. While I will most likely not be rereading this book, it will most likely become a part of my teaching library.
Melanie
My mom read many books aloud to my brothers and I when we were little, and this is the only one that I remember made her cry. I was a tad nervous to read it to my own children knowing it might create that same emotional response in me. I was right. We all cried, even my little 5-year-old.

There are a few of things I really love about this book. The first is the candid yet respectful way the author includes a boy's prayers to his Heavenly Father. The message that prayers are heard and answered is My mom read many books aloud to my brothers and I when we were little, and this is the only one that I remember made her cry. I was a tad nervous to read it to my own children knowing it might create that same emotional response in me. I was right. We all cried, even my little 5-year-old.

There are a few of things I really love about this book. The first is the candid yet respectful way the author includes a boy's prayers to his Heavenly Father. The message that prayers are heard and answered is reiterated throughout the book.

The second thing I love about this book is how it teaches the lesson of working hard for what you want most. In our culture, everything is so easy to come by. I want my kids to take initiative and not be afraid to work hard and problem-solve.

The third aspect to this book that to me makes it a five-star book is that it enables the reader (and those listening) to really FEEL. We laughed. We cried. We all felt a little of that puppy-love. My husband and I each felt a desire to once again run through the paths and trails of childhood, just for an afternoon.

I think this book is appropriate for children ages 8 and up. There were a couple of graphic descriptions I chose to skip over. There were also a couple of curse words.
Natalie
Ahhh, Where the Red Fern Grows. I give credit where credit is due and this little book (not so little to my 8 year old self) singlehandedly catalyzed my voracious appetite for books. And not just books, good books. Well written books by authors whose messages and themes are so well wrapped in honest story-telling that it is hard to tell where their true heart stops and the story starts. I have never forgotten the pure, uncomplicated and, frankly, uncelebrated determination of the protagonist, Bi Ahhh, Where the Red Fern Grows. I give credit where credit is due and this little book (not so little to my 8 year old self) singlehandedly catalyzed my voracious appetite for books. And not just books, good books. Well written books by authors whose messages and themes are so well wrapped in honest story-telling that it is hard to tell where their true heart stops and the story starts. I have never forgotten the pure, uncomplicated and, frankly, uncelebrated determination of the protagonist, Billy. He worked hard because he had to, he failed a lot and he triumphed a lot without the traditional fanfare of 'a job well done'. Instead, we see a boy who does the right thing (most of the time) through trial and error not a divine sense of ethical virtue. Simple yet undeniably profound even for the most sophisticated reader. This book had to be my first review on this site because I truly credit it with opening my eyes to literature that doesn't preach, pander or sensationalize...it enlightens.
Andrew Munroe
It's hard to say how I think about the book I mean it was great. the only problem is why did it have to end like that it was the most unexpected part in the book there was.
Claire
What a great book! I don't know why I didn't read this as a child! I was a big teary mess at the end, but I loved it!
Meg
If you do not sob your eyes out at the end of this book, there is a 70% chance that you don't actually have a soul. I can think of fewer things that I care LESS about than pets in general, dogs specifically, back-hill boyhood adventures, or raccoon hunting... yet Rawls is so amazingly gifted as a writer that I deeply connect with this story on an emotional level that I will never forget. I still don't understand how it happens!

My first tearful experience with this book probably occurred at age 1 If you do not sob your eyes out at the end of this book, there is a 70% chance that you don't actually have a soul. I can think of fewer things that I care LESS about than pets in general, dogs specifically, back-hill boyhood adventures, or raccoon hunting... yet Rawls is so amazingly gifted as a writer that I deeply connect with this story on an emotional level that I will never forget. I still don't understand how it happens!

My first tearful experience with this book probably occurred at age 10 - so it's no wonder I was a blubbering fool by the end... but explain to me why, when I finished reading it to my kids last night, I literally had to stop three times in the last two chapters because my tears prevented me from even reading the words. THAT is brilliant writing.

If you've not yet read this book - or if it's been a few years - time to pick it up again. I laughed and cried with Billy from page #1 - as he slaved away in the blackberry patches, desperately trying to earn the money for his hunting hounds... as he fought off bullies who mocked his poverty... as he trained those two sweet pups to become the greatest hunting dogs in all of Texas... as he... well... you remember the ending. If not - grab a box of tissues.

Such simplistic, beautiful, engaging writing! My hats off to Rawls... I will feel like an accomplished human being if I ever feel as passionately about anything as he did about these characters and this story - let alone if I am able to communicate it in mere words.

FAVORITE QUOTES:

"Good-bye, old fellow. Good luck, and good hunting!" (Billy to the dog he finds in an alley)

My heart started acting like a drunk grasshopper.

"If a man's word isn't any good, he's no good himself." (Papa)

"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. 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." (Mr. Kyle)

"It's in his blood, Billy. He's a hunting hound, and the best one I ever saw. He only has two loves--you and hunting. That's all he knows." (Papa, about Old Dan)

"Mama... do you think God made a heaven for all good dogs?... Do you think he made a place for dogs to hunt? You know--just like we have here on our place--with mountains, and sycamore trees, rivers and cornfields, and old rail fences? Do you think He did?" (Billy)
Cindydee
To start, I just have to say that the thought of someone giving this book one star makes me want to clutch my chest in absolute horror.

To me, this book is a part of my childhood. Its the classic tale of a boy and his dogs. This was THE book of the past ten years or so for me. I got it when I was eight years old, and I didn't finish it until I was seventeen. The main reason was because I could sense what was coming, and I didn't think I could survive if I read it.

Billy works hard to obtain enoug To start, I just have to say that the thought of someone giving this book one star makes me want to clutch my chest in absolute horror.

To me, this book is a part of my childhood. Its the classic tale of a boy and his dogs. This was THE book of the past ten years or so for me. I got it when I was eight years old, and I didn't finish it until I was seventeen. The main reason was because I could sense what was coming, and I didn't think I could survive if I read it.

Billy works hard to obtain enough money to purchase two coonhounds. They hunt raccoons together, and it is easy to see that those Old Dan and Little Ann are his best friends. Some people frown upon him for being so selfish, and a classic example would be the cutting down of an old tree just to catch one measly raccoon. "obscene!" they holler in complaint, but it is a tale, and that was one small addition. What those people may be overlooking in their tree appreciation moments is Billy is a boy, and a country boy at that.

The ending is sad, but beautiful. Anyone who has owned a dog of their own will completely understand how perfectly the ending of Where the Red Fern Grows is displayed. It may be harsh, unnecessary, and hard to swallow, but it also makes you realize how easy it is to connect with an animal, even when it happens to be two fictional creatures on paper. Wilson Rawls did a good job drawing out the emotion of sympathy in many a reader, myself included. When you lose a pet it is a feeling that is difficult to compare to any other, and he managed to put it down and make me feel it tenfold.

In retrospect, this could be a bad idea for any parents out there wanting to get a book for their child, because while it is a touching story, the ending is gruesome, sad, and leaves you feeling almost hollow, wondering why anyone would write that. I am glad I did not read the ending when I was smaller, personally.
With that said, while the writing style may be plain at times, keep in mind despite the content, it is more of a youth's book, not an adult novel. You have to take it with a grain of salt and appreciate it. And make sure you have tissues gripped in your hand. I know I cried for a good ten minutes, and I'm almost certain someone you know, and perhaps even you, will have done the same.
Alexandra
I read this only because it was the favorite book of my boyfriend at the time. Perhaps it lost something because I didn't read it as a kid, or perhaps because I'm not a guy, or maybe just because I don't like sad endings - most especially when those sad endings involve dogs. Or dogs-in-peril, and this book contains both. I actively avoided stories with dogs/cats/horses who die as a kid and in fact I still do. Would have stopped me from reading this one - if I had known. I can see why others like I read this only because it was the favorite book of my boyfriend at the time. Perhaps it lost something because I didn't read it as a kid, or perhaps because I'm not a guy, or maybe just because I don't like sad endings - most especially when those sad endings involve dogs. Or dogs-in-peril, and this book contains both. I actively avoided stories with dogs/cats/horses who die as a kid and in fact I still do. Would have stopped me from reading this one - if I had known. I can see why others like this book, but it just wasn't my kind of story.
Danielle
Well, I know why this is a classic now. What a heart-warming and heart-rending story! The writing is superb and vivid. I missed this one as a kid growing up and am glad I read it now.
jOrDaN
Loved the story when i read it, made me cry, very hart-warming story about this country kid who saves up to buy puppies, and then spends time with them teaching them how to hunt "coons" and the dogs and him relationship grows throught their adventures together untill when a mount lion unexpectedly attacks the boy the two hounds fight for his life causing one dog to die from flesh wounds and the other from loneleness dies and are buried in a place where a rare red fern grows like god planted the Loved the story when i read it, made me cry, very hart-warming story about this country kid who saves up to buy puppies, and then spends time with them teaching them how to hunt "coons" and the dogs and him relationship grows throught their adventures together untill when a mount lion unexpectedly attacks the boy the two hounds fight for his life causing one dog to die from flesh wounds and the other from loneleness dies and are buried in a place where a rare red fern grows like god planted the fern as a sign of angels er somethin definetly recommend.
Ellinor
I feel very biased about this book. It is definitely very well written. I also liked the boy's spirit and his great will. But I just cannot approve of a book that encourages children to hunt and to hunt in a big way. Billy doesn't just occasionally hunt but is absolutely obsessed with it. He even cuts down a gigantic tree just to be able to kill a racoon. And the worst part is when a child is killed during a hunt. This is utter madness! I'd definitely not recommend this book to any child.
Mandy*reads obsessively*
I read this as a kid, I was maybe 10 or 12, but to this day the story and more importantly the emotions it evoked in me have stayed with me.
I was tagged on FB a while back to name 10 books that influenced me and this one made the list.
I'm not sure if it would, were I to read it now, but that doesn't really matter.
Brandy
This was a required read when I was young; it was filled with love, beauty and sadness. A read that makes you smile and weep. This was a required read when I was young; it was filled with love, beauty and sadness. A read that makes you smile and weep.
Jeannie Mills
I had to give this one five stars. I know now why I never read it! It’s early morning, and I hope I can get the tears to stop flowing long enough for me to put on some make-up and get ready for work. Being a dog lover and after rearing my children who have love lots of dogs, I am swept away with nostalgia. I am bothered by one detail, though. Why did they leave their car Samie behind when they left the Ozarks? I didn’t read that they went back to get him. I hope they did!
Kathy Worrell ツ

What a beautiful story of a boy and his dogs. I loved the down home way it was written.
I truly felt a part of the hope, the joy, the courage, the disappointments, and especially the love of a wonderful, wholesome, hardworking, loyal family.
Toph
Finally read this book as a high school graduate haha... It was pretty depressing (as I'd been warned) but also decent. 5 stars
Bob
An outstanding story, a story I probably should have read 40 plus years ago, better late than never.
Meredith
I finally got around to reading this wonderful, vivid, violent and loving book, a children’s classic of American literature. It astounds me how tough and self-reliant and faithful people used to be.
I just couldn’t put it down, and read the last few pages with tears streaming from my eyes.
Jessica Woodbury
The book Where the Red Fern Grows is one of the best books I have ever read. The book is about a young boy in his teens named Billy that has always wanted two hunting dogs. When he finally saves up fifty dollars to buy two brand new hunting pups he is extremely happy. After lots of training and hard work, Billy and his two dogs --Little Ann and Old Dan -- eventually become the best hunting team in the whole valley. Now many action packed adventures and journeys await him and his two best friends The book Where the Red Fern Grows is one of the best books I have ever read. The book is about a young boy in his teens named Billy that has always wanted two hunting dogs. When he finally saves up fifty dollars to buy two brand new hunting pups he is extremely happy. After lots of training and hard work, Billy and his two dogs --Little Ann and Old Dan -- eventually become the best hunting team in the whole valley. Now many action packed adventures and journeys await him and his two best friends. Little does Billy know, but eventually something sad happens to him, his two dogs and his family. In the end, an ancient Indian legend gives him and his family hope.

This book made me feel exhilarated during the scenes where the hunting got intense.

I liked how this book was action packed, but also had a really good story.
Sometimes I disliked when the hunting scenes would carry on for too long.

People who like young adult books and action books would love to read Where the Red Fern Grows.

This book also reminds me of the book Old Yeller.
Mindi Hall
This book is a classic for many reasons. One of the main reasons is because it not only catches but keeps the reader's attention through showcasing a man and man's best friend, a dog. A boy named Billy wanted hunting dogs really bad but his parents could not afford hunting dogs. Billy worked really hard all summer and sent the money off to get two puppies. He walks from somewhere in the Ozarks to Tallequah to pick up two dogs which he names Old Dan and Little Ann. They were coon dogs and immedia This book is a classic for many reasons. One of the main reasons is because it not only catches but keeps the reader's attention through showcasing a man and man's best friend, a dog. A boy named Billy wanted hunting dogs really bad but his parents could not afford hunting dogs. Billy worked really hard all summer and sent the money off to get two puppies. He walks from somewhere in the Ozarks to Tallequah to pick up two dogs which he names Old Dan and Little Ann. They were coon dogs and immediately bonded with their new owner. Billy raises and trains these puppies up into talented, obedient dogs. They would often go out on journeys and sometimes get into trouble with the neighbor boys. There were several intense parts of the book that would keep the reader's attention, especially boys. This book involves several deaths that might be slightly disturbing for younger students. For me, this is one of the reasons I loved it because I became attached to the characters. I actually cried when the dogs passed away.
Gilbert
I'm very invested with the characters, The way Wilson Rawls introduced the characters slowly giving me insight to how they think and feel, I am very excited for the coming hunting season with Big Dan & Little Ann, The way Rawls talked about the dogs makes them feel human.

I also think that the family and the setting is extremely believable, hopefully, the momentum Rawls has built up doesn't stop and I get to imagine my life as a coon hunter with Him.
Janalee
Blood hounds... hunting for 'coons...sounds like just the story for me!

So I read this to my boys and they 5-starred it. Julian tried to take one star away because it was so sad at the end. I had to explain that sad is fine to feel and read about. (At the worst point, I was reading it through a crying voice and the boys were begging me to stop reading because it was too sad.) They went to bed choked up that night. So now they're real men.

I also liked the parts where he prayed a lot and his praye Blood hounds... hunting for 'coons...sounds like just the story for me!

So I read this to my boys and they 5-starred it. Julian tried to take one star away because it was so sad at the end. I had to explain that sad is fine to feel and read about. (At the worst point, I was reading it through a crying voice and the boys were begging me to stop reading because it was too sad.) They went to bed choked up that night. So now they're real men.

I also liked the parts where he prayed a lot and his prayers were answered in interesting ways. How hard-working the kid was, working to save money for his dogs and then hunting with them all night every night, all the pickles they got themselves into that required him getting into freezing rivers up to his neck, chopping down huge trees. Talk about teaching a boy grit. Excellent read for kids.

Now, onto the movie!
Sidonie Gruenberg
I remember reading this book when I was very young, but I didn't remember it well. I just put it down after a good re-read, and my eyes are red from crying. Oh man, this is such a beautiful book. As my family can attest, I am not much a dog person. But my sister lost her dog back in January and reading this just brought back all that sadness. I appreciate dog people, and understand the love and loyalty they have towards their animals. It is a sad book, but it is gorgeously written, so I think it I remember reading this book when I was very young, but I didn't remember it well. I just put it down after a good re-read, and my eyes are red from crying. Oh man, this is such a beautiful book. As my family can attest, I am not much a dog person. But my sister lost her dog back in January and reading this just brought back all that sadness. I appreciate dog people, and understand the love and loyalty they have towards their animals. It is a sad book, but it is gorgeously written, so I think it is absolutely worth a read, or a re-read. I also read this book after hearing about some really terrible tragedies that are happening throughout the world (namely the shootings in Dallas and the tragedy in Nice, France) and this quote really hit me hard:

“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."

After these words were spoken, a thoughtful silence settled over the men. The mood was broken by the deep growling voice I had heard back in the washout.

"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.”
Dee Waite
There are so many ways to describe this book. It is a glimpse into a slice of American life hidden back in the hills in the wild Cherokee Country (The Ozarks, Oklahoma) during the Depression, where life was hardscrabble and yet tantalizingly free and beautiful. It is a book of inspiration for hard work and persistence. It is a book about family. It is a book about God. It is an adventure story, bursting with twists and turns and excitement. It is an astute coming of age story of a boy...who thro There are so many ways to describe this book. It is a glimpse into a slice of American life hidden back in the hills in the wild Cherokee Country (The Ozarks, Oklahoma) during the Depression, where life was hardscrabble and yet tantalizingly free and beautiful. It is a book of inspiration for hard work and persistence. It is a book about family. It is a book about God. It is an adventure story, bursting with twists and turns and excitement. It is an astute coming of age story of a boy...who through love and hard work and lessons grows to be a man, a boy who starts by whining and begging for coon hounds, then realizes this will achieve nothing, and works for two years to buy Old Dan and Little Ann, and their joy then begins. It is a book of two wonderful and unique little dogs and the deepening and fun friendship between dogs and boy. It is a book about the rough beauty of the Ozarks. It is a book about papa, mama and the "best grandfather in the world" who is always "cooking up something." It is about family dreams and what is gained and what is lost when they are achieved. It is a book with hidden humor. It is a book about life intertwined with nature and the dangers hidden beneath nature's uncaring beauty.

But underneath all this runs the essential undercurrent of the book, which is the deep love between the boy, Billy and two hunting dogs, Old Dan and Little Ann. And this is the part that will tear your heart into a million pieces.
Janet C-B
I read this book, because it was my daughter's childhood favorite. Her teacher recommended it, and as young avid reader, my daughter read it on her own. At the time, I was surprised that she would have such a strong like for the book, because her general preference as a child was all about princesses and fantasy.

Now, 15 years later, I decided to read Where the Red Fern Grows and I don't regret it. The story about a boy hunting racoons at night with his 2 dogs is not content that would typically I read this book, because it was my daughter's childhood favorite. Her teacher recommended it, and as young avid reader, my daughter read it on her own. At the time, I was surprised that she would have such a strong like for the book, because her general preference as a child was all about princesses and fantasy.

Now, 15 years later, I decided to read Where the Red Fern Grows and I don't regret it. The story about a boy hunting racoons at night with his 2 dogs is not content that would typically appeal to me. I was tempted to abandon the book several times, but perservered. By the end, I had a much greater appreciation of the authors storytelling ability. While I have no interest in hunting and the inherent dangers, I could easily relate to how the aurhor described the boys work ethic, his love for his dogs, unique relationships with his grandfather, parents and sisters. I could also relate clearly to the issue of loss, and the particular difficulty of a young child dealing with loss.

I rate the book 4 stars for storytelling, character development, and a strong ending. It is easy for my to see how this book is a childhood classic. The author does an excellent job of conveying universal truths about the human condition.
άτнέηά
Once upon a time, there was a particularly cruel and unusual English teacher who decided it would be a great idea to make her students read this book. Or maybe it was the school curriculum. Or the state curriculum. Anyways, someone somewhere decided it would be a great idea to make a bunch of 8- and 9-year-olds read Where The Red Fern Grows.

I'm not sure how, I'm not sure where, I'm not sure why. I suppose someone thought it would be fun for us. Or someone decided it was high time to switch from Once upon a time, there was a particularly cruel and unusual English teacher who decided it would be a great idea to make her students read this book. Or maybe it was the school curriculum. Or the state curriculum. Anyways, someone somewhere decided it would be a great idea to make a bunch of 8- and 9-year-olds read Where The Red Fern Grows.

I'm not sure how, I'm not sure where, I'm not sure why. I suppose someone thought it would be fun for us. Or someone decided it was high time to switch from the Dumb Little Kid Stories they usually made us read, and start giving us God-Awful Books About Death.

Or maybe someone just had something against dogs.

Anyways, my 4th-grade reading list went like this:

1. Where the Red Fern Grows. (Dogs die.)

2. Island of the Blue Dolphins. (Brutal survival story where various people and dogs die.)

3. Jar of Dreams. (I think someone murders a dog and leaves it on the owner's doorstep.)

4. Sign of the Beaver. (I don't think the dog actually died, but it came pretty dang close.)

So it goes without saying that my English teacher REALLY had a thing against dogs that year. Let me tell you firsthand that 4th grade left everyone scarred.
Kyle Loehrke
Where The Red Fern Grows is a very good book. I gave it five stars because I didn't want to put the book down. I loved this book from start to finish.

In the beginning of this book Billy got a great raccoon dog and he had to get a hide to train it with. Before he got the puppy he had top save up enough money to buy it so it took a long time but he could finally get one. He got a great dog and it was a very good dog. Billy got the first raccoon by catching it with nails in a stump and then he tra Where The Red Fern Grows is a very good book. I gave it five stars because I didn't want to put the book down. I loved this book from start to finish.

In the beginning of this book Billy got a great raccoon dog and he had to get a hide to train it with. Before he got the puppy he had top save up enough money to buy it so it took a long time but he could finally get one. He got a great dog and it was a very good dog. Billy got the first raccoon by catching it with nails in a stump and then he trained the dog with the hide. Billy's dog then could trail raccoon's very good. Billy got a lot of raccoon and then one day a raccoon went up a huge tree and he couldn't chop the tree down to get it so he tried and he tried but he couldn't. then in a storm the tree blew over and he got the coon. At the end of the book Billy's dog dies and he buried it and then the next spring two red ferns grow directly over his grave.

This was a great book and I believe every Middle School Male should read it because it teaches you things about life and it is very good. I hope to read more books by Wilson Rawls.
Matt Willden
I read this a couple of times as a boy, and owing to his current preoccupation--no, obsession--with all things dog, my 2nd son welcomed my reading it to him. Some books don't age well: with adult eyes they fray around the edges. Where the Red Fern Grows isn't one of those. It was as rich and verdant a tale as the one that filled my daydreams as a kid. And it's grown even more heart-wrenchingly beautiful. Once I started the last few chapters one night, I knew I couldn't stop. So there we were, ga I read this a couple of times as a boy, and owing to his current preoccupation--no, obsession--with all things dog, my 2nd son welcomed my reading it to him. Some books don't age well: with adult eyes they fray around the edges. Where the Red Fern Grows isn't one of those. It was as rich and verdant a tale as the one that filled my daydreams as a kid. And it's grown even more heart-wrenchingly beautiful. Once I started the last few chapters one night, I knew I couldn't stop. So there we were, gathered in my son's room until nearly 11 pm (with the rest if the family, sensing the power of the chapters, squeezing in around us), choking back the sobs and trying not to look at each other. I sincerely struggled to get the words out to finish the book. I haven't been able to get the haunting story out of mind for several weeks. It left me with an exquisite melancholy. I searched for Wilson Rawls' contact information, hoping I could write a letter of gratitude to the author, but was sad to learn that he died when I was a toddler. But how glad I am for his story of family, sorrow, 'puppy love', adventure, and loss in those beautiful Ozark mountains.
Amanda
I read this book for the first time in 5th grade. I lost count how many times I have read it since.
Billy Coleman lives in the Ozarks and has coonhounds on his mind and tormenting his dreams. When he sees an ad for a pair of Redbone Coonhounds pups in the paper for twentyfive dollars he starts doing odd jobs to raise the money. It takes him two years, but he finally has the money saved. He sends for the pups and has to trek on foot to the train station where they arrived since the mail buggy doe I read this book for the first time in 5th grade. I lost count how many times I have read it since.
Billy Coleman lives in the Ozarks and has coonhounds on his mind and tormenting his dreams. When he sees an ad for a pair of Redbone Coonhounds pups in the paper for twentyfive dollars he starts doing odd jobs to raise the money. It takes him two years, but he finally has the money saved. He sends for the pups and has to trek on foot to the train station where they arrived since the mail buggy doesnt deliver live animals. On the journey home he comes across a tree with the name Dan and Ann carved in it and there he christened the pups Old Dan and Little Ann. He began training them right away and soon, with the help of his grandfather his hounds were winning coonhunting championships. The hounds lived for the hunt, were inseperable and were fiercely loyal. In the end these attributes would lead to a tragedy that to this day rips at my heart and brings tears to my eyes. *sniff*
If your hankering for a good tear jerker, heres your book.
Amy
I just finished reading Where the Red Fern Grows for the first time and I want to write the review while I’m still mad. I am not sad, I am angry. Why do people idolize this book? Why is it a favorite? Why it is a potential winner on The Great American Book by PBS? Have people really read it??! (view spoiler)[There must be over 50 animals that die in this book, one by one. There’s also a young boy that dies. (hide spoiler)]The females are reduced to filler in this book as if they serve no purpose I just finished reading Where the Red Fern Grows for the first time and I want to write the review while I’m still mad. I am not sad, I am angry. Why do people idolize this book? Why is it a favorite? Why it is a potential winner on The Great American Book by PBS? Have people really read it??! (view spoiler)[There must be over 50 animals that die in this book, one by one. There’s also a young boy that dies. (hide spoiler)]The females are reduced to filler in this book as if they serve no purpose other than to break down and start crying or worrying over their beloved Billy.

I don’t think it’s uplifting at all. I will agree that it’s full of love that a boy feels for his dogs, and I believe most of us feel that intense love for our pets - except for the Colman family as they leave their home of over 15 years and Samie the house cat with no further thought.

I wish I had never read this.
Christopher Temple
If you are not a dog lover, this book could very well turn you into one! The loving relationship between Billy and his dogs, Old Dan and Little Ann, will truly make you question how deep a human can connect with our canine companions.
Garrett Eason
This my all time favorite book. Unlike most books I can actually relate to this book in particular. I am a coon hunter myself and I understand just how close he is to his dogs. Also, I understand how much time he spends with these dogs while training them or caring for them.

I rated this book a five because of a few reasons. First off, most good books give me a feeling of being sad when a character died, but not to the point where it was a struggle to go on like this one did. Another reason wh This my all time favorite book. Unlike most books I can actually relate to this book in particular. I am a coon hunter myself and I understand just how close he is to his dogs. Also, I understand how much time he spends with these dogs while training them or caring for them.

I rated this book a five because of a few reasons. First off, most good books give me a feeling of being sad when a character died, but not to the point where it was a struggle to go on like this one did. Another reason why I rated this book a five is that in this book I can actually relate to the character.Moreover, when my coon dog died it was hard for me too. Overall, I really enjoyed the adventure and the roller coaster of emotions.
Jenna
It was awful. What's the point? The kid gets obsessed over dogs, so he earns money to buy them, he goes on a bunch of hunting trips, and then the dogs die! Nothing was accomplished, I saw almost no character development, and the characters were all so flat that I wasn't even sad when the dogs died, and they were the 2nd most important characters! In fact, I may as well admit it, I laughed. I was thinking, "wow, that is so pointless!" Especially since Billy seemed so... comforted by the red fern. It was awful. What's the point? The kid gets obsessed over dogs, so he earns money to buy them, he goes on a bunch of hunting trips, and then the dogs die! Nothing was accomplished, I saw almost no character development, and the characters were all so flat that I wasn't even sad when the dogs died, and they were the 2nd most important characters! In fact, I may as well admit it, I laughed. I was thinking, "wow, that is so pointless!" Especially since Billy seemed so... comforted by the red fern. If someone that close to you dies, would you be comforted by a plant that happens to grow on their grave? Maybe I'm just missing something really big here, but this was the worst book I've read in a long time.
Kelly
This was my favorite book when I was a kid. My fourth grade teacher read it to my class and I loved it so much that I couldn't stop talking about it. Somebody eventually bought it for me and I read it again (first book I ever re-read). I've had it on my bookshelf ever since. For the past year I've considered re-reading it, but was afraid it wouldn't be as good as an adult. I'm so glad I finally decided to read it. It was just as good as I remembered. Definitely the best dog story I've ever read This was my favorite book when I was a kid. My fourth grade teacher read it to my class and I loved it so much that I couldn't stop talking about it. Somebody eventually bought it for me and I read it again (first book I ever re-read). I've had it on my bookshelf ever since. For the past year I've considered re-reading it, but was afraid it wouldn't be as good as an adult. I'm so glad I finally decided to read it. It was just as good as I remembered. Definitely the best dog story I've ever read (and I read a lot as a kid). I sobbed hysterically at the end--the hard to breath sort of sobs. This is by far one of my all time favorite kids' books.
Patrick
This young adult novel is a fine nature book along the line of Old Yeller, and The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. It is a thin book but very well written and I had no problem sinking into the tale of a boy and two beloved coon hunter hounds. The raccoons are full of tricks and the smarter of the two dogs knew them all and the bigger dog was like the tough dog. Both have their own personalities that they were almost complicated as people. It pulled at the heartstrings of hunters everywhere when they ha This young adult novel is a fine nature book along the line of Old Yeller, and The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. It is a thin book but very well written and I had no problem sinking into the tale of a boy and two beloved coon hunter hounds. The raccoons are full of tricks and the smarter of the two dogs knew them all and the bigger dog was like the tough dog. Both have their own personalities that they were almost complicated as people. It pulled at the heartstrings of hunters everywhere when they have the finest hunting partners they could ever have.
Sean Chambers ray
This was one of the few books with a sad ending that I actually really love. This was a very well-written book depicting the bonds between human and dog. I just love this book. Sometimes, even when bad things happen, we don't understand. Blessings hide and they hide it often in life. So I was really touched by this story of a wonderful family in the mountains. I would recommend anyone to read it. Even as a grown woman, I felt as if I were on an adventure. It was gripping. I couldn't put it down.
Heidi
I am so hesitant to write a review about this book because so many other reviews have already been written about it.

However, I must just say how much I loved and adored this book when I was younger.

Although this is considered a children's book I know most adults would love it and I must say that this is one of the best books that I have ever read in my life.

And I have read tons of them.
Laureen Peltier
Sister Peggy read this to our 4th grade class, one chapter at a time. I fell in love with it and re-read it a year later. I was impressed with the details and how easily I was drawn into the world of coon hunts. A powerful story with ethics and moral that almost anymore can relate.

If it's not required reading in today's young adult classes, it should be. At any rate, it's a great revisit for adults, and very interesting to read again with a little wisdom behind you. Make this a summer read.
Noah
Oh my goodness!!! This book was sooooooo amazing!!!! I read this last year (5th grade) in class. Normally, I hate the books we read in class, but I LOVED this one. I literally bawled, and I am not exaggerating one little bit. It was so sad, but I doubt it would have been that good without something dying. Everybody in the right mind has to read this. Your life will never be complete without it. I recommend this for EVERYONE that's above the age of 10.
Cody Sexton
This is a story about a young boy growing up and learning about the harsh realities of life. Most of the life lessons are however no longer relevant to our times and you would be hard pressed to find any really meaningful messages here, but the story succeeds in being heartfelt and genuine, but then again maybe that was the message all along, something genuine. 
K.
Still makes me cry every time I read it. Legit ugly sobbing, mascara-running-down-my-face kind of crying. It's terrible.

Edit: for the reread on Book Riot's Read Harder challenge, because I just wanted to sob alone today, I guess.
Chaim
Where the Red Fern Grows is the first book that meant something to me. It the was eighth grade, Ms. What’s Her Name’s class. I had two cocker spaniels. I loved these dogs, and something in the book resonated with me, something, I’m sure, that transcended my puppy love. I remember lying in bed one night, sobbing, sobbing, the names of my dogs, beseeching them to never die.
Katrina
Just because I knew how it was going to end doesn't make it any less sad. I always get jealous of the main characters in stories like these because I wish I had a pet that was as important to my life as they are to these characters. The ending may have been sad, but the legend behind the red fern helps to make it somewhat uplifting.
Alex
where the red fern grows is an awesome book, but the ending is quite sad because Old Dan and Little Ann died. I didn't expected that to happen. I think one of the many themes is to show Loyalty. The other one is the most common theme "Never Give Up" Old Dan and Little Ann had changed Billy's Life by hunting together. I almost cried at the end, it was very sad.
Matt
this book was forced upon us in school and it couldn't have hit me at a worse time... i generally avoid all "dog books" because inevitably the dog will have to die but my dog Mike was put to sleep right before reading this so it was devastating to read... should have gotten a veterinarian's note to get out of reading it...
Jalynn Weber
I just finished reading this out loud to my third graders. They were completely captivated. The word choice Rawls uses to paint images is amazing. I will definitely read this out loud to future students as this book really models excellent descriptive writing for students. Aside from great writing, it's a heart warming great story for kids.... and even adults. :)
Ma Cristina
Yes finally i finished the book !! This book is a really sad book . Its about this little boy name bill who is on a farm and he wants dogs . So he tries so hard to get money . And he sells fruits to the fishermen . He gives the money to his grandfather who orders the dogs for billy . And bill sneaks out .....
Rebecca
I read this so many times as a kid that I have to give it 5 stars. I still remember the scene where he gets to taste a soda pop -- such an unusual treat, but one that I got to have often. This may have been one of the first times I considered the "count your blessings" idea. Also, one of the first books where I cried real tears.
Tanner
Audible. This book is a classic--I can't believe I'd never read it. It might have just definitely made me tear up a little.

With themes of grit, passion, loss, and love, this book is entertaining and instructive.
cristina moustirats
I almost cried

I felt it was the saddest book I ever read. It is great for young readers. personally one of the best books I ever read. I feel that everyone who likes to read should at least get the sample.
Marisa
Read this for a summer reading assignent for a student I was tutoring. Maybe if I was a 10 year old boy who really wanted a dog so I could club a raccoon to death, then yeah, maybe I'd like this book better.
Thomasina
Wilson Rawls is a robot from the future, sent back in time to test the effects of distilled adolescent heartbreak and sorrow on the human populace presented via printed media. At what price science, Wilson Rawls? At what PRICE?
Breann Bianco
I actually read this book when I was in high school and I just whole heartedly fell in love with it. Its an amazing book with a very heart felt ending.
Red Phoenix
This is my favorite adolescent book of all time! I love sad endings and this one delivers. Heartbreak, adolescent style.
Megan Marvel
I'm surprised by how much I liked this. I really enjoyed the simplicity of the story and the relatability of the characters, especially Billy.
Mr. Kehres
One of my all-time favorite books. I must have read this book dozens of times when I was younger. A story about a boy and his two hunting dogs. A must read for any child growing up.
Kathryn
The ending says it all - only an angel can plant the seed of the red fern. Billy, Old Dan and Little Ann stay in your heart forever.
Eoin
This book far excedded my expectations. I loved it. I don't want to say much because of I have to wirte a report for this one for school but Wow, wow.
Janna
My first love! This book got me hooked on reading. I didn't realize what strong emotions a book could evoke! I will forever love this book!! It's my #1!!
Chris
I know this is a classic, but every time I try to read it, I can't like it. Maybe it is because of ending. I don't know.
Pyles
I read this when I was in third grade. I cried. A lot.
Jane
This is a heart pounding book that was writen flawlessly.
Alison
My teacher read this out loud to us in the fourth grade. I remember as she got to the end, she paused to grab a box of tissues. Even as a nine-year-old, I knew it was about to be On.
Tanvi N. 8B
A very very good book with a surprise ending and so much happiness.
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