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Big Red: The Story of a Champion Irish Setter and a Trapper's Son Who Grew Up Together, Roaming the Wilderness
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Big Red: The Story of a Champion Irish Setter and a Trapper's Son Who Grew Up Together, Roaming the Wilderness (Big Red #1)

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  15,798 Ratings  ·  188 Reviews
"Big Red" was a champion Irish setter; Danny a young trapper who knew more about the ways of varmints and hounds than of the world of fancy kennels and dog shows. But Red's owner knew a good dog man when he saw one, and entrusted Red to Danny's training.
Hardcover
Published June 1st 1956 by Holiday House (first published 1945)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Debbie Zapata
Jul 11, 2013 Debbie Zapata rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: saturday
I thought when I began re-reading this book yesterday that I might change its star rating from 5 to 4. I had marked it 5 stars when I first joined GR and before I really understood how things worked here. But I've just finished the book and I'm leaving it with all 5 stars.

I have a soft spot for Kjelgaard and the way he is able to bring dogs, people, and Nature to vivid life. This story of Big Red and Danny is no different and I was caught up from the beginning. Would Danny be able to work with
...more
Richard
Nov 14, 2008 Richard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Young males
Recommended to Richard by: My aunt, many years ago.
Jim Kjelgaard's Irish Setter books are the ultimate boy-and-his-dog adventure stories. Although it has been a very long time since I read them, I do remember that they completely enthralled me at the time, and captured my heart and imagination.
Casey
May 27, 2007 Casey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middlereader
Jim Kjelgaard really started my obsessive compulsive reading lifestyle. He was really the first author that I can vividly remember, at like 8 years old, going into a bookstore and blurting out to any employee "Do you have any Jim Kjelgaard books, I'll spell it for you..K-J-E-L-G-A-A-R-D" Great dog books too, by the way. Jack London lite.
Laura Verret
Nov 12, 2012 Laura Verret rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-sale
Danny Pickett’s always loved dogs. Course, the only dogs he’s ever really seen are hounds, but he likes them fine. And then, he meets Red.

Red is an Irish setter – a well built, but refined looking dog. His eyes shine with intelligence and he has spunk, too. He’s taken to Danny – but he belongs to Mr. Haggins, a rich and kindly neighbor. When Mr. Haggins sees how well Danny and Red get along, he hires Danny to help take care of Red.

Red’s a fancy show dog. But during the months when he’s not compe
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Kyle Loehrke
Jan 13, 2015 Kyle Loehrke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read Big red because it looked very interesting and I like dogs. This book is very enjoying and I think that it is a perfect book for a freshman to read that likes outdoor stuff. This book was action packed and I didn't want to put it down.
In the beginning Danny is working for his boss Mr. Haggin. He finds a bull that was killed by a huge bear and then he sees the bear. His family has tried to kill this bear for years and he also wants to. After he told Mr. haggin about the bull he sees his do
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Lisa Rathbun
I loved this book as a child and reread it many times. I loved the thrilling adventures from the "smaller" ones like his encounter with the wolverine to the main conflict with the savage bear. Oooo, I remember being so creeped out by the bear! Danny sitting in the dark, hearing the bear's claws scraping on the rock and watching Big Red's hackles rise . . . brrrrr!



IMO, if kids are looking to be scared and feel chills up and down their spine, this is a lot healthier than some of the truly twisted
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Wendy
Sep 30, 2011 Wendy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wendy by: school
I rated this when I first joined Goodreads, but I don't remember why I only gave it three stars. I seems to me that I enjoyed it more than that. I've recently picked up a used copy of the book, so sooner or later I'll get around to rereading it and give it a proper review. I'm really stumped that Kjelgaard seems to be largely out of print--I loved the few of his books I encountered growing up, and can't see why kids today shouldn't enjoy them, too.
Larry Piper
Apr 25, 2016 Larry Piper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, we have a 17-year old hillbilly Danny Pickett, living in a shack with his father, Ross. They support themselves by hunting, fishing and trapping. Occasionally they do some odd jobs for the rich guy, Mr. Haggin, on whose estate they have been squatting for years. I'm guessing they're somewhere in Appalachia, although we're also told they're only 300 miles from New York City. Whatever, they live an idyllic life, albeit a bit on the rough side.

One day Danny goes to see Mr. Haggin and is greete
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Karen GoatKeeper
Reading through this book I kept finding outdated ecological ideas. Finally I looked up the copyright and found it was published in 1945. No wonder its ideas about how a predator fits into an ecosystem are so out of step with modern research.
Such problems aside, the book is a good story of a boy and his dog. It has plenty of challenges and excitement. The ending is happy and lends itself to the sequels that followed.
Jim and his father are trappers. They earn their living trapping and hunting the
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Jerry
Fans of boy-and-his-dog hunting stories like "Where the Red Fern Grows" and "Old Yeller" will love this book. While you can pretty much guess what is going to happen by the end of the book, based on the opening chapters, the journey getting there is full of twists and turns that keep the reader interested and eager to find out exactly how the events will unfold. My only complaint--and it's a mild one--is the sometimes hokey-sounding dialect the characters use when they speak. Other than that, th ...more
T
Feb 14, 2010 T rated it it was amazing
This is about a Big Red dog and a boy who really loves this dog and lives in a place I cannot remember the name. The dog is a show dog but he can tell he is a good hunt dog. Eventually he gets hired to be a trainer, but the dog's leg is injured and will not be able to show any longer. He turns him into a partridge dog. There is also a bear named Old Majesty because no dog has been able to run him down. Big Red is there to challenge him and they defeat him in the night. I really liked this book b ...more
Ed
Aug 02, 2013 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1945 debut of the Young Adult Big Red series. I remembered reading this book over 50 years ago and rereading it found that it was as engrossing and enjoyable as the first time around. Kjelgaard wrote a number of books featuring an animal, usually a dog.

YA - "Big Red" was a champion Irish setter; Danny a young trapper who knew more about the ways of varmints and hounds than of the world of fancy kennels and dog shows. But Red's owner knew a good dog man when he saw one, and entrusted Red to Dann
...more
Rebecca McNutt
May 13, 2015 Rebecca McNutt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful and creative dog story, but Bid Red is also a timeless tale of friendship, hard work and the beauty of natural and rural environments. This book was an excellent journey through time and I highly recommend it.
Bookworm
A wonderful book! Jim Kjelgaard's style of describing and writing about the woods is unparalleled by any other boy's author. I loved this book-should have read it sooner! It was funny, tense, exciting, intriguing, and more.
Kam Hope
Sep 13, 2010 Kam Hope rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would suggest this book to hunters.It is about a man and a dog who try to kill a bear who eats there cattle.
Shantelle
Read this when I was a bit younger, and remember quite enjoying it! Books about dogs aren't usually my thing these days; but I have fond memories of reading them in the past! :)
Andrea
Jul 25, 2011 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-books
Read Kjelgaard's books when I was a kid and they were a formative influence. Indeed, here is a longer blog post I wrote up about the books (back when I was giving blogging a brief go):

I gave my nephew a set of four books this last Christmas: Big Red, Irish Red, Outlaw Red (a trilogy of Irish Setter stories) and Stormy, all by Jim Kjelgaard, and then for his ninth birthday, I found two more (the books are mostly out-of-print) Snow Dog and Wild Trek. He’s loved the books, as I figured he would, hi
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A
Oct 11, 2016 A rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
heart warming dad book
Jim
It was ok. A little short.
Ben
Dec 25, 2009 Ben rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great Read
Justin Kooistra
Oct 17, 2016 Justin Kooistra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hannah Clennnon
Oct 11, 2016 Hannah Clennnon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the first quarter we had to choose a book, I chose this one, the lexile level is 910. This is the first book that I have read by Jim Kjelgaard. This is his most well known book he has written. He lived for 69 years and wrote 31 books. I picked this book because I really enjoy dogs and adventure stories. I`m also the kind of person who looks at the cover and gets drawn in. The book is called big red because a boy named Danny was given a dog named red. He is a Irish setter who is in dog shows, ...more
Vickie Simpson
Feb 02, 2017 Vickie Simpson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best dog book ever written.
I read it years ago, it made me appreciate reading. It's a great story and with a happy ending. I bought a copy for my granddaughter, which I hope she'll take the time to read. Perfect for early high school readers. Better than old yeller or call of the wild, which I consider great books. After reading Big Red I recall reading every book I could get my hands on by Kjelgaard, and was never disappointed.

Chris
Jan 30, 2017 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I re-read this since I enjoyed it as a child. It's a good adventure novel and I love the topic, a boy and his dog facing challenges and growing together. The English is a bit archaic as it was written in the 40's and the prose does tend to drag at times. Overall an enjoyable read.
Erin Pierce
Overall, I liked this boy-and-his-dog story. The high adventure scenes of the book ( hunting the wolverine & Old Majesty, the bear) were where I could not wait to see what happened. But, the largest parts of the book seemed to drag, which is why I only gave it 3 stars.
Lexie
Sep 24, 2008 Lexie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lexie by: my teacher
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Arliegh Kovacs
This book has a copyright of 1945 (mine is a 4th printing dated 1962) and was written back when "Scholastic Books" had some real substance instead of the silly stuff I see now when I go to the Book Fairs at my grandsons' schools. My youngest grandson (3rd grade) and I chose this to read together because he's crazy about dogs. This is about an Irish Setter (a Championship show dog worth $7,000 back in the '50s) named Champion Sylvester's Boy. Mr. Haggin, his owner, trusts "Red's" care and trainin ...more
Gale
A HEART AS NOBLE AS THE MOUNTAINS

Seventeen-year-old Danny Pickett comes into true manhood at the end of this YA survival story about the hardships of living in the rugged Wintapi Mountains of NY state. Set in the mid 40's BIG RED chronicles the strong bond between boy and dog. Living in a rustic cabin on the property of wealthy Mr. Haggins Danny and his father eke out a living as fur trappers and varmint hunters. Content with casual poverty and relative deprivation Ross accepts and even relishe
...more
Dominic.G
Feb 28, 2016 Dominic.G rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Big Red by Jim Kjelgaard is a good book from my stand point. It is a simple and classic book about a show dog and a boy. The boy named Danny lives with his father, Ross, in the Wintapi forest. Danny takes care of his neighbors show dog Big Red who he soon builds a friendly relationship with. Red wins second place in a dog show and soon after problems about an old bear who has been causing trouble all over the woods lead to a climax worth reading. While looking for that bear Danny also has to dea ...more
Conan Tigard
Nov 13, 2015 Conan Tigard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Big Red a wonderful book about a young man and his dog, a champion Irish Setter. Although Danny doesn't own him, it is his job to take care of Red. The book was written by Jim Kjelgaard in 1945, so the reader must picture a time when life was a little simpler. Ross is a trapper and they live without running water and electricity in a small shack in the woods.

Having been written in the 1940's, this book does not look at the world that we see it today. Danny has grown up with a trapper for a fathe
...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Incorrect publication date 3 24 Feb 06, 2012 09:36AM  
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an American author of young adult literature.

Born in New York City, New York, Jim Kjelgaard is the author of more than forty novels, the most famous of which is 1945's "Big Red." It sold 225,000 copies by 1956 and was made into a 1962 Walt Disney film with the same title, Big Red. His books were primarily about dogs and wild animals, often with animal protagonists and told from the animal's point
...more
More about Jim Kjelgaard...

Other Books in the Series

Big Red (3 books)
  • Irish Red
  • Outlaw Red

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