Where the Red Fern Grows
Year of Release: 1961
Author: Wilson Rawls
Reading Age: 8-12 years
‘Where the red fern grows’ is a story of a young boy, Billy, who wishes to have 2 dogs. The boy does all that he can to be able to afford the dogs, and he eventually succeeds in getting his wish fulfilled. The actual story starts with the 2 beautiful red hounds – Litte Ann and Old Dan, coming into Billy’s life. Billy wishes to train them to be hunting dogs, and they don’t disappoint him at all. The three form a great team and go Racoon hunting night after night. It’s a thrill and adventure that they all relish. Through these experiences, the three get deeply connected and become inseparable. They always work as one unit and are practically incomplete without each other.
The book takes the reader through the innumerable escapades that the threesome has together and how through these experiences, Billy gets to know more and more about his dogs. These experiences create a deep connection between them, especially the two dogs. So deep is the love between them that they can read each other’s minds, sense the other one’s feelings, worries, and fears, and comfort them. The deep understanding that they have for each other takes anyone who comes across them, by surprise and generates awe. Billy loves his dogs and takes pride in them and the dogs, too, in return, are loyal and devoted to him.
It is a story set up in the 1900s. It is a little hard to relate to for kids of the present generation, especially the parts about a young boy going out in the night alone to hunt, cutting down a giant Sycamore tree ( when presently the world is talking about preserving trees), and hunting animals for their hide. While reading, one has to understand and appreciate the time when it was written. With that clear, the story starts becoming quite acceptable and interesting. The adventures are fun to read, the joint achievements seem commendable, and the love and affection between Little Ann and Old Dan make it a worthy reading. The end is pretty sad, and the legend of the red fern is uncovered.
A long read but completely worth the time spent.
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