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Where the Red Fern Grows

The Story of Two Dogs and A Boy

Rawls, Wilson

(Paperback - 1989)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Where the Red Fern Grows
The story of a young boy's love for two hunting dogs and his coming of age in Oklahoma in the 1930's.
Publisher: New York : Bantam ; 1989
Edition: Bantam Starfire Book
ISBN: 0553274295
Branch Call Number: J FIC R
Characteristics: 249 p. ; 18 cm.


From the critics

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Aug 04, 2013
  • niku1234 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

This was an okay book. It was well written but was quite sad. Although i would have liked a happy ending, I was satisfied with the book.

Apr 16, 2013
  • lafing1 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I first read this book at age 9, and have re-read it many times since then. It is a classic story, where childhood dreams are achieved through hard work and persistence.

It is pretty good. The ending is sad, but not that sad. In classic books someone always dies.

Nov 26, 2012
  • lakevilla_IDOL rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This book is about a young boy who saves up his money for two hunting dogs. The dogs and the boy go through the good and the bad together. Their love grows for eachother. The ending of this book is sad, but it is very touching.

May 31, 2012
  • meenkyujung rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is a very sad story but very well written and also adventureous.

May 12, 2012
  • dixiedog rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This is a wonderful book for a juvenile, (perhaps age 12) to adult to read. It is a story about a young boy who earned and saved money for two years just to buy two hounds for hunting racoons. It is a story about the love that grows between a boy and his dogs. While the ending is sad, I would recommend this wholesome book to any reader. Senior Doctor-at-Bass. D. A.

Dec 17, 2010
  • sachipachi rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Even though this book was sssooo sad it was probably one of the best books that i've read.

Apr 16, 2010
  • Kemendraugh rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Typical dog story, only somehow, it sets itself apart. I don't know what it is, the style, the content or the characters, but 'Where the Red Fern Grows' is a classic, and always will be.

Jun 09, 2009
  • Claire3 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I loved this book, but if you get emotional during certain books do not read it in public. It will make you cry.

Feb 05, 2009
  • BookWorm432 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I love this fictional book because it is based on a true story. I also love this book because it is such a thrilling book about love, adventure and passion for dogs. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves some drama, excitement and a little bit of crying! Even if you don't like dogs or any of this stuff I still think you should read this book. :)


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Jun 09, 2014
  • blue_dolphin_4535 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

blue_dolphin_4535 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 99

Aug 06, 2013
  • andryjay rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

andryjay thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over

xinyiliu thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

May 31, 2012
  • Orange_Moose_10 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Orange_Moose_10 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

May 10, 2012
  • dixiedog rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

dixiedog thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Dec 15, 2010
  • Violet_Wombat_2 rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

Violet_Wombat_2 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Jul 13, 2010
  • SONAL R POKALE rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

SONAL R POKALE thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

Feb 05, 2009
  • BookWorm432 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

BookWorm432 thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over


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Dec 15, 2010
  • Violet_Wombat_2 rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

Violence: This title contains Violence.


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Feb 05, 2009
  • BookWorm432 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

The adult Billy Colman narrates his childhood memories. Living with his Papa and Mama and three sisters in the Ozark Mountains in Oklahoma, all 10-year-old Billy wants is two hounds with whom he can hunt "coons" (raccoons). His family cannot afford them, however, so Billy works odd jobs for two years and saves up the money to buy them. Only then does he tell his plan to his Grandpa, who helps arrange the purchase.

After an initial adventure in which they scare off a mountain lion, Billy and his two hounds - a small, intelligent female dog he names Little Ann and a stronger, determined male dog he calls Old Dan - are inseparable. They learn all the angles of coon hunting and make a great team; no wily coon can outsmart Little Ann, and Old Dan is strong and sure. More than that, the dogs seem bonded to each other, and to Billy, in mysterious ways. Both dogs' lives are endangered at different points, but with bravery and intelligence they all help each other out of jams.

One day, the cruel, trouble-making Pritchard boys bet Billy that his dogs, whose reputations grow with each new coonskin, cannot "tree" (chase up a tree, at which point the hunter usually chops down the tree) the elusive "ghost coon" in their neck of the woods. On the hunt, the elder Rubin accidentally falls on Billy's ax as he tries to kill Billy's dogs (who are fighting the Pritchards' dog). The incident haunts Billy.

To cheer Billy up, Grandpa enters him in a championship coon hunt. Billy, Grandpa, and Papa go to the contest. Immediately, Little Ann wins the beauty contest. Billy qualifies for the championship round in which his dogs bag three coons, but a blizzard sets in as they chase away a fourth one necessary for the win. The men eventually find the half-frozen dogs circling a treed coon. When they kill the fourth coon, they win the championship and the $300 jackpot.

The family is ecstatic over Billy's success, and Mama is especially grateful for the money. But some weeks after the championship, Billy and the dogs encounter a mountain lion. The dogs save Billy's life, and they manage to kill it, but not before it inflicts serious damage on Old Dan. He dies, and without him, Little Ann loses the will to live and dies a few days later. Billy buries them next to each other and cannot understand why God took them from him.

With the money the dogs have earned over time from the coonskins and the jackpot, the family can finally move to town in the spring and the children can receive an education. On the day they move, Billy revisits his dogs' graves. He finds a red fern has sprouted up between the two mounds. He knows the Indian legend about a little boy and girl who had been lost in a blizzard and froze to death. When their bodies were found in the spring, a red fern had sprouted between them. As the legend goes, only an angel can plant the seeds of a red fern, which never dies and makes the spot sacred.

The adult Billy reflects that he would like to revisit the Ozarks and all his childhood haunts. He is sure the red fern is still there, larger now, for he believes its legend.


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