Where the Red Fern Grows

Where the Red Fern Grows

by Wilson Rawls

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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!
“Very touching.” —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
“We tear up just thinking about it.” —Time on the film adaptation

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307781567
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 01/12/2011
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 8,304
Lexile: 700L (what's this?)
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Wilson Rawls is the author of the timeless classic Where the Red Fern Grows and the acclaimed novel Summer of the Monkeys. He was born on a small farm in the Ozark Mountains and spent much of his boyhood roaming northeastern Oklahoma with his only companion, an old bluetick hound.
   Since its publication more than fifty years ago, Where the Red Fern Grows has assumed the status of a classic and has been made into a widely acclaimed motion picture. Rawls' second novel, Summer of the Monkeys, received rave reviews and won the prestigious California Young Reader Medal Award, among other accolades.

Read an Excerpt

When I left my office that beautiful spring day, I had no idea what was in store for me. To begin with, everything was too perfect for anything unusual to happen. It was one of those days when a man feels good, feels like speaking to his neighbor, is glad to live in a country like ours, and proud of his government. You know what I mean, one of those rare days when everything is right and nothing is wrong.
I was walking along whistling when I heard the dogfight. At first I paid no attention to it. After all it wasn’t anything to get excited about, just another dogfight in a residential section.
As the sound of the fight grew nearer, I could tell there were quite a few dogs mixed up in it. They boiled out of an alley, turned, and headed straight toward me. Not wanting to get bitten or run over, I moved over to the edge of the sidewalk.
I could see that all the dogs were fighting one. About twenty-five feet from me they caught him and down he went. I felt sorry for the unfortunate one. I knew if something wasn’t done quickly the sanitation department would have to pick up a dead dog.
I was trying to make up my mind to help when I got a surprise. Up out of that snarling, growling, slashing mass reared an old redbone hound. For a second I saw him. I caught my breath. I couldn’t believe what I had seen.
Twisting and slashing, he fought his way through the pack and backed up under the low branches of a hedge. Growling and snarling, they formed a halfmoon circle around him. A big bird dog, bolder than the others, darted in. The hedge shook as he tangled with the hound. He came out so fast he fell over backwards. I saw that his right ear was split wide open. It was too much for him and he took off down the street, squalling like a scalded cat.
A big ugly cur tried his luck. He didn’t get off so easy. He came out with his left shoulder laid open to the bone. He sat down on his rear and let the world know that he had been hurt.
By this time, my fighting blood was boiling. It’s hard for a man to stand and watch an old hound fight against such odds, especially if that man has memories in his heart like I had in mine. I had seen the time when an old hound like that had given his life so that I might live.
Taking off my coat, I waded in. My yelling and scolding didn’t have much effect, but the swinging coat did. The dogs scattered and left.
Down on my knees, I peered back under the hedge. The hound was still mad. He growled at me and showed his teeth. I knew it wasn’t his nature to fight a man.
In a soft voice, I started talking to him. “Come on, boy,” I said. “It’s all right. I’m your friend. Come on now.”
The fighting fire slowly left his eyes. He bowed his head and his long, red tail started thumping the ground. I kept coaxing. On his stomach, an inch at a time, he came to me and laid his head in my hand.
I almost cried at what I saw. His coat was dirty and mud-caked. His skin was stretched drum-tight over his bony frame. The knotty joints of his hips and shoulders stood out a good three inches from his body. I could tell he was starved.
I couldn’t figure it out. He didn’t belong in town. He was far out of place with the boxers, poodles, bird dogs, and other breeds of town dogs. He belonged in the country. He was a hunting hound.
I raised one of his paws. There I read the story. The pads were worn down slick as the rind on an apple. I knew he had come a long way, and no doubt had a long way to go. Around his neck was a crude collar. On closer inspection, I saw it had been made from a piece of check-line leather. Two holes had been punched in each end and the ends were laced together with bailing wire.
As I turned the collar with my finger, I saw something else. There, scratched deep in the tough leather, was the name “Buddie.” I guessed that the crude, scribbly letters had probably been written by a little boy.
It’s strange indeed how memories can lie dormant in a man’s mind for so many years. Yet those memories can be awakened and brought forth fresh and new, just by something you’ve seen, or something you’ve heard, or the sight of an old familiar face.
What I saw in the warm gray eyes of the friendly old hound brought back wonderful memories. To show my gratitude, I took hold of his collar and said, “Come on, boy, let’s go home and get something to eat.”
He seemed to understand that he had found a friend. He came willingly.
I gave him a bath and rubbed all the soreness from his muscles. He drank quarts of warm milk and ate all the meat I had in the house. I hurried down to the store and bought more. He ate until he was satisfied.
He slept all that night and most of the next day. Late in the afternoon he grew restless. I told him I understood, and as soon as it was dark, he could be on his way. I figured he had a much better chance if he left town at night.
That evening, a little after sundown, I opened the back gate. He walked out, stopped, turned around, and looked at me. He thanked me by wagging his tail.
With tears in my eyes, I said, “You’re more than welcome, old fellow. In fact, you could’ve stayed here as long as you wanted to.”
He whined and licked my hand.

Customer Reviews

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Where the Red Fern Grows 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1528 reviews.
immortalimp83 More than 1 year ago
This book was wonderful. I read it for the first time in third grade as a lonely third grader who had recently moved from another state. I already had a dog but I wanted one of my own afterwards. In fourth grade I got a new miniature schnauzer puppy and named her Little Ann after the dog in this book. My Little Ann died 2 novembers ago at 15 years old. I was cleaning out some of my childhood books and recently found my old copy and reread it with my sister. It made us both cry, but we still love it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Where the Red Fern Grows is an amazing book about a boy named Billy who lives in the little town of Ozarks. There he works very hard to buy two red bone hounds. The two dogs, Old Dan and Little Ann, seem to be able to always understand Billy and the three are inseparable. Billy trains his dogs to hunt, and they become an incredible team. Throughout the story they face many challenges in competitions, bets, and much more. This book was so intriguing. I had always heard of this book, but never took the time to read it. I'm so glad I chose to read this book. It shows the devotion of two dogs to each other and to their master. I would warn parents that this book contains some blood, so the child should be at least about third or fourth grade. Other than that, I think anyone who reads this book will fall in love with the characters and the touching plot. Throughout this book I laughed and even cried. The description is amazing and will take your breathe away.
flamingoFL More than 1 year ago
I have never read a novel quite like this one. Where the Red Fern Grows is the most emphantic story that is out there. A mature novel of a relationship between a boy and his two loving hunting hounds. Encounter the stories of two angels and a boy in the flinty ozark mts. Five stars, please read. I promise a story full of faith and happy tears! Truly, heartwarming.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVE this book i recommend this book to ANYONE although i will admitt that tears where rolling down my cheeks and it was hard for me to tell someone the book without me crying (yeah its that good) even though part of the end was really sad it still had a sweet ending i will never forget this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Any animal enthusiast will find this heart wrenching novel an absolute pleasure as Billy's attachment to his dogs, and their fondness of each other. Unquestionably will resonate with all pet owners.
This book offers the extra benefit of providing inspiring examples of virtuous human qualities. Billy shows his adherence to personal accountability via the manner that he finds the money himself to purchase his hounds; a feat not easily accomplished by a child. Billy also exemplifies his absolute devotion to his family and dogs matched only by the loyalty echoed to him from his dogs.
You will find this book will be a very satisfying ordeal from Billy's acquisition of the pups to their saddening yet revealing conclusion regarding the red fern. I highly recommend this book to animal lovers of all ages and to those looking for meaningful excursion into the potent power of affection among humans and animals.
Gray22 More than 1 year ago
Honestly this book was the best that i ever read. Good for the dog lover and any animal lover out there, shows that a boy can have friends to trust and count on. Forming relationships with two souls forever together even after death has come and gone which still touches your heart. This is a great book!!!
Marshall_Edmunds More than 1 year ago
When you first start the story, Billy is just a kid who’s from a simple farm in the west. But after a few chapters, it turns into a great story with underlying meaning of love. The whole theme of the book is based around an old Indians tale, of precious red ferns growing wherever true love is. And you come to realize that the connection between Billy, Old Dan, and Little Ann is far more than just pet to owner. From the first coon hunt and the huge tree, all the way to the last fatal fight with the mountain lion, it is a fun, easy going read for practically any age. This is a must read book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is easily the best book that I have ever read. I have probably read it at least 5 times in the past year and enjoy it every time. I thought that it was exiting and a book with many good morals for older kids. This book inspired me to work for things that I want just like Billy. Would recomend it to anyone who loves hunting, animals, or the outdoors. Anyone that said that this was a bad book and that it provoked sensless killing was wrong. Hound dogs are bred to hunt and choose to hunt on there own. If a dog dosn't want to hunt then it wont. Also, animals being killed by other animals and people is just nature and there is nothing wrong with it. If you thought it was bad it was probably because you were not paying attention
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the book when I was in third grade and watched the movie then also. The ending is sad but at least he gets his dogs.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When my teacher read this book to my thrid grade class, everybody in the class was lisening. It seems like the book goes on forever, but in the end it is worth it.
Carencromom More than 1 year ago
I am a 5th grade teacher in a rural community. They loved identifying with the main character. The details were sometimes slow, but it teaches them to have delayed gratification. If you see bad reviews from kids, just know that they couldn't get through the parts that were without action. As a read aloud, they were forced to do that, and it helps train young, developing readers to WAIT for the good stuff.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is awsomr i rate it a 10
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book that shows the relationship between a boy and his dogs!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Made me cry on 1st and 20th chapter I bet you i will read it again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My dauter and I read it and its very sad and if your the typically emotional animal loving girl that feels for the characters like my daughter then you will dislike it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is probably the best book i've ever read. I literally never put the book down because it was so good and I wanted to read more. It is so detailed that I cried at the end. I'm not going to spoil the book, so that is all I will say but I highly recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i love this book ! its so sweet . it makes me want a dog so bad its my favorite book but its really sad . my favorite part is when billy raises the $ to buy the dogs & he runs away from home to get them .i love this story & i would totally recemend this book to you
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book with my class and we all loved it. I suggest every child should read this book. If you dont like this book you should read books by Rick Riordan or James Patterson.
kitkat54 More than 1 year ago
You know when you are trying to read and all of a sudden the pages start to get blurry and tears start streaming down your face and before you know it you are uncontrollably balling your eyes out? Well if you haven't then read this book and you will know what i mean!! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for school and didnt excpect to like it, but im so glad my teacher had my class read it.
CSLaing More than 1 year ago
My 12 yr old had to read this as apart of her 6th grade class. She thought it was an "ok" read.
SCHS_Reader More than 1 year ago
If you are into a heartbreaking and thrilling book I recommend Where The Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. It is a real plot twister. The main character, Billy, a boy growing up in the Ozark Mountains of Oklahoma, wanted some pup hound dogs really bad, because every kid he knows has one. Billy finds a magazine that fishermen left with a “Dogs for Sale” in it for $25.00 each. It took him 2 years to save that much doing farming, picking blueberries, and working at his Pop’s store. What follows is a story of friendship, fun, surprising adventures, and courage as Billy and his inseparable dogs hunt coon and learn many lessons along the way. After a heartbreaking tragedy, Billy must learn what it means to trust God that good can come out of hard and sad things. He learns that he must grow up and move on, always remembering the good in special times and what he has learned. I think that someone who likes dogs and boyhood adventures would really like this book. I know I did!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think Where the Red Fern Grows was not a great book, let me tell you why I think this.  The book has  no real meaning.  Here is a summary for the book: Billy worked for 2 years to get enough money to buy two hounds.  He names  the hounds Little Ann and Old Dan.  He goes hunting a lot.  One day Old Dan dies because of the wounds he got from hunting the lion.  Then one day Little Ann  dies because of the sadness she had from Old Dan dying.  Then they move into town, where Billy does not want to go.  He has to leave his hounds.  The red fern grows by the  graves of the hounds. That summary I just gave you would not be the kind of book I would want to read.  The book it so sad.   A boy named Rubin gets killed by an axes and two hounds die.  I think Where the Red Fern Grows should have something more to do with the title.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Five stars isn't enough I give it 100 and for those people who are so rude, not my fault that you don't know how to handle a sad yet happy story. Please say this was helpful if you agree