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Old Yeller by Fred Gipson
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Jul 08, 11

Read in July, 2011

Gipson’s simply told tale of a boy and his dog living in the Texas Hill Country of 1860 is a genuine classic of children’s literature. Travis Coates is only 14 years old, but while his father is off for months on a cattle drive, he is the “man of the house,” left on the homestead with his mother and younger brother, 5-year-old Arliss. A stray yellow mutt of a dog, with one ear virtually chewed off, and only a stump of a tail, shows up one day. He’s a no good, thieving rascal – taking their meat and stealing eggs when he can – but he proves himself to be a key defender of the family when he faces a bear that is targeting Arliss. Just as Old Yeller worms his way into the family’s hearts, this book will burrow into the reader’s heart. I am not a “dog person,” but I really connected with this book. I think this in part due to the fact that I grew in the Texas Hill Country, so the scenery was alive in my imagination. But more importantly, I connected to the way Gipson portrayed the characters’ emotions – fear, love, irritation, loyalty, happiness, sorrow. This little book packs a big wallop.
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