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Stone Fox

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  10,225 Ratings  ·  866 Reviews
There's just no stopping little Willy. Determined to keep their farm going -- and to give his ailing grandfather a reason to live -- the ten-year-old boy hitches his dog, Searchlight, to the plow and harvests the whole potato crop.
Now little Willy needs five hundred dollars to pay off ten years' back taxes, or the farm will be taken away from them. Dauntless as ever, he st
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published April 23rd 1980 by HarperCollins (first published January 1st 1980)
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Mar 09, 2016 Werner rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kids who can handle tragic reads
Recommended to Werner by: My oldest grandson
Shelves: childrens
My oldest grandson Philip (age 10, the same age as Willy, the protagonist of this very short kid's chapter book) is an avid reader who reads above grade level, an interest I obviously encourage. He recently read this book himself, and was excited about it enough to want to share his copy so I could read it too. Being about to be between books anyway, and being interested in connecting with him in a shared reading experience, I agreed. It proved to be a very quick read --an adult could read it in ...more
Seahee Park
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 20, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-list
My nine-year-old "assigned" this book to me. We are getting more of that of late...she is unimpressed by my reading piles and I love that she wants to share the books she enjoys with me. This was a book her third-grade teacher read aloud to the class this year. It's based on a legend that may be true (but may not be), and I think reading it aloud is just the way to read it. It's almost too short for me to count here (I would have read it in one sitting if not for the fact that it was late at nig ...more
Emily Beeson
Book Review: Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner

I read this book aloud to my kids today, and let me tell you. I was a blubbering fool. I used to roll my eyes and laugh when my mom cried at emotional stories. Now I'm her.

Except this time, Bubs (nearly 7) wasn't rolling his eyes. He was crying, too.

Are you familiar with this very short chapter book? Here's a brief overview:

Little Willy may only be ten, but that doesn't mean he can't run a potato farm. His grandfather has become very ill. Willy is
Annie Risher
Sep 16, 2016 Annie Risher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was really good. This was about teaching people to care for others and try to help them work things out. Willie tried helping out his grandfather and did everything he could. The ending was sad, but I still liked it a lot. Searchlight was Willie's dog, and she worked hard for him. She ran too fast, and it hurt her heart. You will love this book as much as me.
Mandie Peterson
Oct 06, 2016 Mandie Peterson rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
Age: This is not appropriate for younger children, but I don't think teens or adults would enjoy this much either. So, how about nobody reads it! *pats myself on the back*
Plot: 4 stars
Characters: 3 stars
Writing: 3.5 stars
Overall: 1 star
My Review: As you can see from above, the plot, characters, and writing were all given 3 or more stars, but my overall rating was only 1 star. Well, this book was so depressing. This 10-year-old named Little Willy (why does this kid go along with this?) whose pare
Aug 11, 2012 Luleia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amber Kennedy
Oct 20, 2014 Amber Kennedy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 17, 2015 Dallin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is sad but i don't want to spoal it
Lana Harriman
Personal Reflection - I chose to read this book because I’d seen it being used in the classroom when I was subbing as a Para. Each and every single student, boys and girls alike, were thoroughly enjoying the book and from what little I’d learned about it while there, I just knew I had to add it to my list of future reads. It did not disappoint! The book was easy to relate to and certainly pulled at my heartstrings. The theme of hope, hard work, and dedication are practically my motto and this bo ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Don, Celeste, and I cried like babies when we read this together, many years ago. We still remember Stone Fox as one our fondest reading memories. Go, Searchlight, go!
Feb 19, 2011 Tony rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is sad at the end but it is a really good book.
Feb 18, 2011 Lauriona is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
well I have not read all of it but its real good I think you would like it.
Oct 22, 2012 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: transitional
First of all, until I got to the end of this book, I didn't realize that I had, in fact, had this story read to me in the first grade, and it still makes me just as sad now as it did then. Dog lovers will have a hate-love relationship with this story, as it describes a sweet, but all-the-while depressing theme that many books of this type will address: the undying loyalty of a dog, which ultimately leads to the dog's death. Although this can be a bit of a downer for kids, it allows them to conne ...more
Aug 29, 2015 Emy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Library of Congress Children's Books
Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award (Minnesota)
Beehive Award (Utah)
New York Times Outstanding Book
Southern California Council on Literature for Children and Young People Award

Book Review:

The idea for this story came from a Rocky Mountain legend that was told to me in 1974 by Bob Hudson over a cup of coffee at Hudson's CafÉ in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Gardiner's note is not part of the story, but it does reflect the down-to-earth tone and atmosphere t
Erin Prosser
Apr 17, 2013 Erin Prosser rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: transitional
When you first glance at the cover of this short novel, the style of the illustrations are very realistic and serious with icy blue colors.

Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner is a transitional novel about a little boy named Little Willy who lives with his grandfather on a potato farm with his faithful dog, Searchlight. When his father becomes ill, Little Willy must take over his grandfathers farm, becoming a very responsible young man. One night he comes home to a horse and a unfamiliar old man
Jessica Vanhemel
The illustrations in this book were very simply pencil sketches, they did add a lot to the story though. The focus of the story was on the relationship of the boy and his dog, which was well represented by the illustrations. Although they were simple they added a lot to the story. The focus was more on the text than the illustrations as it should be with a book for older children.

This is the story of a ten year old boy little Willie, his dog Searchlight and their adventure to save the grandfath
Nov 20, 2013 Chelsea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Little Willy lives with his grandfather and dog Searchlight on a potato farm. One day Willy finds his grandfather lying in bed when normally he is up before the sun. At first Willy thinks it is a joke but after a few minutes of no responses, Willy goes to get the town doctor. The doctor reports that he is a perfectly healthy man but has given up, he has no will to live and will soon die. Willy refuses to accept this and tries to do everything he can to keep the farm running and tend to the crops ...more
This is my second time reading this book and I must say it is a wonderful little book. I was surprised at the ending…again. The writing is good and the illustrations are great.
Kristin Campbell
Nov 21, 2011 Kristin Campbell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Transitional Book
The book begins with Little Willy and his dog, Searchlight, finding Willy's grandfather lying in bed. Doc Smith, the only doctor in town, tells Willy that his grandfather no longer wants to live. Clifford Snider, a tax collector, sneaks into Willy's house and demands to know how much his grandfather owes the state. Willy finds out that his grandfather did owe some money and decides to enter a dog sled race that has a reward of 500 dollars. Willy sees a man that looks professiona
Oct 11, 2013 Patti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Several years ago a substitute teacher came into the library and asked me for “Stone Fox”. She said it was her favorite book to read aloud to 3rd and 4th grade classes. She could finish it in a day, and she had yet to have a class that didn’t just love this touching story.

It is an excellent book, and I agree it’s easily read in a short amount of time, perhaps over a few nights as a family read-aloud; or as a class read-aloud for 2nd-4th graders. It is a simple plot that introduces some interest
Meghan Klyczek
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathryn Oyler
Dec 02, 2012 Kathryn Oyler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: transitional
Billy, a ten-year old boy who lives with his grandfather, owns a dog named Stella. Everything in Billy’s life seemed to be going right up until his grandfather became drastically sick. Later on, a man shows up at Billy’s grandfathers house stating that he hasn’t been paying his taxes so he’s going to take the farm away. Billy decides to enter himself into a dog race that’s being held in town in order to keep his grandfather’s farm and avoid having to live in an orphanage. Billy is determined to ...more
Nov 18, 2013 Katelyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: transitional
The transitional book, Stone Fox, by Gardiner, is about a young boy named, Willie, who lives on a potato farm with his grandfather. They live in a small town, barely making it by each year on money from the farm. One day, Willie's grandfather becomes sick. Willie has to start taking care of his grandfather. He soon realizes that his grandfather owes five hundred dollars in taxes for the farm. Willie is determined to save his grandfather's farm and help him start feeling better. Thus, Willie deci ...more
Jul 07, 2010 Seth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stone Fox, written by John Reynolds Gardiner with illustrations by Marcia Sewall is good chapter book. This is a story about a boy whose Grandfather becomes very sick and may lose his farm if he doesn’t pay the taxes he owes. His Grandson, Willie displays an unconditional love for his Grandfather, and because of this Willie will do anything to see his Grandfather become healthy again. Against all odds and despite what all the locals say, Willie and his best friend (dog) Searchlight decide they w ...more
Kathryn Reeder
Dec 08, 2014 Kathryn Reeder rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ryley McLintock
Jan 25, 2016 Ryley McLintock rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think this is a amazing book about a young boy named little willie. little willie is a boy who works on a farm with his grandfather who always got up before the sun came up and started cooking breakfast. One morning Little Willie and grandpa went to bed early but grandpa wouldn't get up because... well I don't know. So Little Willie Ran outside to his dog searchlight and the ran to doc smith and told her grandfather hadn't got out of bed yet. and doc smith said that he was just probably just j ...more
Jen Ferguson
Feb 21, 2013 Jen Ferguson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book after a recommendation from a student (Deja), and I loved it.

This is a heartwarming novel about a boy, Willy, who is trying to help his sick grandfather. After his grandpa becomes sick, the boy and his dog, Searchlight, are on a mission to try to save their family farm and do whatever it takes to bring the grandpa back to health.

This leads them to compete in a dogsled race against, Stone Fox, a Native American that has never lost a race before.

You have to read to find out if
May 26, 2013 AnnieM rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well now I know why teachers are known for how they can't read this book aloud to the classroom without being struck by a coughing fit or having their allergies suddenly kick up out of nowhere.

The ending was so shocking to me. I bolted up off the floor to replay it to make sure I heard it right.

I did.

I didn't see it coming.

Anyone who doesn't cry at the end of this one has a questionable soul.

This will be one I will love and reread for years to come, and most likely cry every time because I'm a
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John Reynolds Gardiner was an American author and engineer. Born in Los Angeles, California, he earned his master's degree from UCLA. He was a successful engineer before working on his first children's book. Always creative, in his younger years he ran Num Num Novelties, home to such originals as the aquarium tie. He lived in West Germany and Central America, and taught writing workshops around th ...more
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“Is she dead, Mr. Stone Fox? Is she dead?” little Willy asked, looking up at Stone Fox with his one good eye.” 1 likes
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