Lana Hoffman's Reviews > Shiloh

Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
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's review
Oct 29, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: realistic-fiction

"When he finds a lost beagle in the hills behind his West Virginia home, Marty tries to hide it from his family and the dog's real owner, a mean-spirited man known to shoot deer out of season and mistreat dogs."
Overall, this was an unbelievable book! You could really feel Marty's conflict. This book shows that sometimes rules need to be broken or changed in order to do the right thing. Marty's love for Shiloh came through touchingly throughout the book. As a reader, you are rooting for Marty and praying that he can save Shiloh. This is a book that you become emotionally connected to. All of the characters were described with so much detail, that as a reader I could see them in front of me. I think that children will care about Marty and Shiloh and want to read their story.
Specifically, I loved the way Phyllis Reynolds Naylor describes each character and what is happening in the story. I felt like I was there with Marty when he found Shiloh, hid him and took care of him. When he was in the truck with the man who abused Shiloh I felt nervous for Marty and found myself hoping that he would not be found out. When he made the deal to keep Shiloh I felt proud of Marty. All of these characters mattered to me, because Naylor was able to bring them to life.
As a teacher, I would have my students (third and up) work in Literature Circles and discuss this book. I would give them the opportunity to share their thoughts, make predictions and also provide them with a list of open ended comprehension questions. One of the questions I would ask would be, "If you were Marty what would you have done and why?" I would also ask, "Is it ever ok to break the rules like Marty did and if so, when is it ok?" This book provides a great opportunity to talk about right and wrong and all of the shades of gray in between. That is why I believe Shiloh is a great book to use in Literature Circles.
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02/25/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Maureen (new)

Maureen Shiloh has always been one of my favorites and I am glad you enjoyed it too. The moral dilemma which Marty struggled with stimulated thoughtful conversations among my 4th graders. I used to do a theme study called Amazing Animals with literature including Shiloh, Trumpet of the Swans, Charlotte's Web, Cricket in Time Square, and Babe, a few others depending on the instructional levels of my students. These range in readability from about 3.5-5.0. At the conclusion of the unit, students were allowed to bring their pets to school (on the blacktop) and give an oral presentation as to why their own animal was "amazing."

message 2: by Andrea (last edited Oct 30, 2008 12:31PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Andrea I can't believe I haven't read "Shiloh" before. I think it is a great book to use with students in the upper elementary and possibly middle school grades. It is filled with suspense and emotion. Using this story seems to be a great vehicle to discuss good and evil, right and wrong and the shading that can sometimes occur between them. Among the questions students could focus on would be: Was Marty right or wrong to lie about Shiloh? Was Jud Travers completely evil or did he have some honor? Did Jud grow to respect Marty and if so, why? I also like the fact that the story is about a warm, loving, realistic family dealing with everyday life. I am planning to read the two other books that make up the Shiloh trilogy, "Saving Shiloh" and "Shiloh Season" as soon as I can.

message 3: by Maureen (new)

Maureen The sequels are rich and engaging, but perhaps not as powerful as the original Shiloh. At least two have been made into movies,and present a good opportunity to have the students write an expository essay comparing and contrasting the film and book version (the book always wins!) I have done that with other books that have been made into films such as Because of Winn Dixie, Fudge-a-mania, Charlotte's Web, Holes, etc. We published a book of movie critiques and it really kept the kids engaged the last week of May. See you soon.

Lana Hoffman I love the idea of talking about why your pet is amazing! That is such a fantastic way for students to learn how to give a persuasive speech and appreciate animals. If I was in your class, I would have loved bringing my dog and cat to school. It would have been so much fun to tell everyone how amazing they are. Wonderful idea!

Taylor First time reading it WONDERFUL.

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