Madison's Reviews > Where the Red Fern Grows

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
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Jan 31, 12

bookshelves: chapter-books

** spoiler alert ** Where the Red Fern Grows is an emotional rollercoaster of a story that follows a young boy Billy and his two hunting dogs, Old Dan and Little Anne. This book is a tale of puppy-love of the strongest variety. I had originally read this book in the fifth grade. To this day I remember the suspense that the hunting scenes brought and the tears that I cried when it all ended. I did not have the same emotional experience when I reread the book as a sophomore in college. The suspense was no longer there as I knew how the book would end. That being said, I still connected to the characters on some level and did have an emotional response to the highs and lows Rawls created.
In my opinion, this book is most effective the first time it is read. While reading the book I was bracing myself for what I knew was coming rather than letting myself become attached to the characters. I also feel that this book is more appropriate for upper-elementary and middle school students. Being an older reader, I felt that some of the scenes that involved conflict were a bit trite and too-easily resolved. That being said, they are written in a way that is beneficial for younger readers who are still learning communication and conflict-resolution skills.
Overall, I would recommend this book for the aforementioned age group but not for any older readers. Wilson Rawls does an expert job of creating lovable characters and exciting situations that could make the most stubborn, young anti-reader involved in his story. Where the Read Fern Grows deals with important themes such as dealing with adversity, friendship, perseverance, love and death in a way that elementary readers can comprehend and learn from. While I will most likely not be rereading this book, it will most likely become a part of my teaching library.
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