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Where the Red Fern Grows

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  255,342 Ratings  ·  7,826 Reviews
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.
Mass Market Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 9th 2000 by Yearling (first published 1961)
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Stella Because that's how it adds emotion
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jul 10, 2007 Melinda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who has a heart
I read this book in 4th grade. One day I was waiting for class when an obnoxious boy decided it would be a good idea to take it. I informed him that it was my favorite book in the whole wide world and if he didn't give it back that he'd be sorry. He then threatened to tear the book in half. With that I walked over to him, hit him over the head with my cast (I had broken my wrist a few weeks prior), took my book and calmly walked away.

I think that a book that inspires someone to violence in the 4
Aug 25, 2007 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
I read this book in sixth grade and cried my twelve-year-old heart out. Another book I share with my sixth grade students. What I find is that this book in particular allows the boys in my class to get emotional about a story and be able to talk about it together and normalize it. It is almost a contest for them of who got most upset. One student said he finished it on a plane ride home and that the flight attendant kept coming up to him asking him if he was alright. I've had many students tell ...more
Oct 12, 2014 karen rated it it was amazing
this is one of my favorite books in all the land. i read it at least a million times when i was little, and it holds such a special place in my heart, i can't even begin to review it. having said all that, there are those who have a problem with the ending, because let's just say it's fairly devastating. so, as a band-aid to the heart of monica!, i have rewritten the ending to make it a little more jolly. with all apologies to wilson rawls, whose ending i thought was spectacular, allow me to pre ...more
Brian Yahn
Apr 10, 2016 Brian Yahn rated it did not like it
If I wasn't already, this book was bad enough to make me non-religious.

Not only is Where the Red Fern Grows incredibly dry--it reads like the Bible except ten times more boring--but it seemingly lacks a plot and has minimal character growth. Worse than all that, though, everything in the story lacks consequence. At one point, a childhood-rival accidentally axes himself to death in the midst of petty fight with the protagonist, Billy, and his two dogs. In less than a few pages, Billy and his fami
Mike (the Paladin)
Jul 22, 2014 Mike (the Paladin) rated it did not like it
Let me say first that some love this book and to be fair I never read it except to get an idea of the story.(updated:please read what I actually said there. Any book I don't care for enough to finish will usually get a 1 star or at best a 2.) You will find in my books low ratings for Black Beauty, The Yearling, Old Yeller and any books that have the "pain of life motif" in common. By the way this includes Cold Mountain. Look up my review and you'll see I try to give recognition that it's well wr ...more
Nov 20, 2008 Kendra rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
We finished it! I read this aloud with my kids and as I read through the final sentences, we were all in tears. I am not talking teary eyes, but body rocking sobs. My six year old did not stop for almost twenty minutes. When he was finished he said it was the greatest story he had ever heard. My eight year old wanted to meet the author and thank him for such a great book. I loved this book and recommend it to everyone. Just read it with a box of tissues nearby.
Sh3lly ✨ Guardian of Mermaids with Broken Tails ✨
This is a little generic review way after the fact... This book was read to my class in the 4th or 5th grade by our teacher. I can't even remember if it was a male teacher or female, haha. What I remember is that for about 20 minutes each day, we would hear part of the story, and I remember being really disappointed when it was time to move on because I wanted them to keep going. I even recall crying at some point (or most likely trying to hide me crying since I was in public).

The book moved me
Jonathan Ashleigh
Dec 02, 2015 Jonathan Ashleigh rated it really liked it
I read this book when I was in grade school and it always stuck out as an effortless read. I still remember the storyline and the characters and the ending was magical.
There are a handful of books we read as children that so completely capture our hearts we cannot and would not ever forget them. Where the Red Fern Grows is such a book. An elementary teacher read this book to my class when I was in about third grade, beginning for me a love that has seen me through many personal readings, with even more readings to my own students through the course of my career as an elementary teacher.

What most people do not know is that this classic tale of a boy and his hun
Dec 09, 2013 RachelAnne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
(view spoiler) ...more
Edward Lorn
Dec 25, 2014 Edward Lorn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dog Lovers/Cat Haters
If there's one thing I learned from this book it's this: Fuck cats. Big or small, cats are the source of all evil. Hell, even Billy's family left their cat behind when they moved. Yeah, man, cats suck.

Now that I've made plenty of enemies, I will try and express my true feelings about this book.

I laughed. I cried. I did a number of cliched things while reading Where the Red Fern Grows. Mostly, I had fun. I dug running around with Billy and Little Ann and Old Dan, and I hate that I was one of the
Fantastic emotional roller coaster ride that was as good now as when I read it more than 40 years ago. I haven't read it since then because I remembered it pretty well & knew it came with a TJ (Tear Jerker) rating. There are tears of joy & sorrow, triumphs & defeats - a lot of life in such a few pages. Billy's grit & determination are something for every child to aspire to.

In this read, I found the background of the times most interesting. I guess it took place in the 1920's sinc
Nov 28, 2007 Josephine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kidlit
I loved chatting over email with Amy Schimler about her dog Beans (see yesterday's interview), and it got me thinking about my favorite dog book of all time. We had to read Where the Red Fern Grows in 5th grade, and I have to admit I was completely dismayed that we had to read a "boy book." I struggled the whole time to distance myself from Billy, Old Dan, and Little Ann, probably flipping my permed hair and muttering "this is *so* stupid" and "who cares about a couple of dumb dogs?" under my br ...more
Jul 01, 2008 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-faves, young-adult
You know how everyone you know says they cried after they watched "Old Yeller"? Yeah, I didn't cry nearly as hard watching that movie as I did when reading this book...worse yet, we read it for an English class in jr. high--yeah, that's a stigma an already geeky girl needs on her middle school resume!

Regardless of that, this is still one of my all-time favorite books. It does a great job of portraying loyalty, stamina, work-ethics, and love at a level that children and adults can understand and
Jan 14, 2008 Evan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: 10+
This book can easily be the best book i have ever read. The book is about a young boy you wants to buy a pair of hunting dogs, but does not have enough money. After a while he saves enough and buys them, and names the dogs Big Dan and Little Ann. The book is great for many people becasue you can relate youself to the characters no matter who you are. The story flows very easily and reads very well. This book is one of those kinds of books that once you start, you just cant put it down, and you k ...more
Spider the Doof Warrior
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 02, 2015 Ian rated it really liked it
Well. This book is terrible! I was told it had positive message and was filled with life lessons. Life lessons? Life Lessons!!! Why that boy and his dogs chased us all over the place and you don't want to know what happened when he caught us. No siree.



My cousin Rocky in the minutes before he was caught by Billy. (hands clearly up in surrender)

Aug 29, 2007 Swaps55 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: young-adult
This book belongs on that special list of YA books that stay with you for the rest of your life. You remember them, remember how they changed your perspective, how they made you feel, and how they helped you grow up. This book in particular belongs at the top of that list for me, right alongside Bridge to Terebithia, and I consider it a mandatory title for anyone who is in the process of growing up.

Clear as a bell I remember the night I finished it, right before (or quite after, as was more lik
Aug 09, 2015 Brooke rated it liked it
This was a SOLID 3 stars for me!

I found myself enjoying the meaning behind this story more than its actual content if that makes sense. I definitely didn't hate it but there were some parts that dragged mainly because I couldn't really relate to this boy's life. I'm glad though that I chose to listen to the audiobook version because the narrator did a great job. The ending was very beautifully sad and the message was universal whether you are a boy or a girl. Overall, I'm glad I read this.
A classic so called tear-jerker and for good reason, when we read Where the Red Fern Grows in grade six English (we also watched the movie), I most definitely was crying at the end, not just for the dogs, but also for Billy, having lost both of his loyal and treasured pets.

However, as much as I was emotionally moved and yes, affected by Where the Red Fern Grows, I have also always had some major and problematic issues with this novel, namely with the amount of hunting that is described (and in
Jul 21, 2013 Steven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you haven't read Where The Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls you're really missing out on a wonderful story about a boy and his dogs. This is a story of heart and love. Not only of the boy for his dogs, but the bond and love between the dogs. Some do not believe animals have feelings or sense things like us humans, but I beg to differ. Sure, this is a story, perhaps most of it made up, but like all stories, they are fashioned from truth. In my own writings I have taken true events and fashioned ...more
Mar 10, 2010 Engineous rated it did not like it
The synopsis: a boy gets two purebred hunting dogs, goes around hunting animals. Usually succeeds in killing them, although occasionally it stops at mutilation. Ends up getting his dogs killed because he's too selfish to rethink his actions and ethics. Other stuff happens too, but mostly torturing animals. Often given to kids. Unless you like sociopaths, don't.

God, what an awful book. I read this when I was nine for a school assignment - I remember loving it. I revisited it several years later,
Mar 04, 2016 ♡Kellin♡ added it
Recommends it for: NO ONE
Recommended to ♡Kellin♡ by: the idiots of the school board
*disclaimer: I don't mean to be offensive, I'm here to express my opinion. So haters back off.

THIS BOOK. I don't know how to describe the angry and annoyed feelings I have for this story. And it's not for the reasons you think! The main character, Billy, is a complete idiot and spends most of his days at the beginning of the book thinking about how he wants a dog sooo badly. (I get it, he's a young boy with puppy fever. He just lays it on a little too thick. OK, maybe way to thick but that's bes
Jan 31, 2012 Madison rated it really liked it
Shelves: chapter-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 25, 2013 Melanie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-lit
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
Dec 05, 2009 Natalie rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Dec 13, 2015 Anna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: grant
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.
Steve Lowe
May 09, 2011 Steve Lowe rated it really liked it
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.
Shilpa bagla
Jun 01, 2014 Shilpa bagla rated it really liked it
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
Dec 24, 2013 Meg rated it it was amazing
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
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Wilson Rawls was born on September 24, 1913, in the Ozark country of Scraper, Oklahoma. His mother home-schooled her children, and after Rawls read Jack London's canine-centered tale Call of the Wild, he decided to become a writer.

But the Great Depression hit the United States in 1929, and Rawls left home to find work. His family moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1935, and he came home each fal
More about Wilson Rawls...

Share This Book

“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.” 75 likes
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