Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Where the Red Fern Grows : A Book Review

This week, I'm linking up with Mrs Jump's Class to talk about books.  This book was a classroom read back when I was in grade 7.  I absolutely loved it back then, and still love it today!  It's a classic that boys and girls both love, full of action, love and values. Have you guessed it yet?  It's Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.

About the Book

This book explores the relationship between Billy, a ten year old boy living in the Ozarks and his two coon dogs, Little Ann and Old Dan.  After two years of saving up for his dogs, Billy finally has enough to purchase and sends for them (and you should see what he goes through to get these dogs!  Easily a classroom discussion on determination right there!).  They go hunting after some training and Billy promises the dogs that if they tree a coon, he will do the rest.  

There are some funny moments in the story, some foreshadowing but more than anything, there's determination, passion and love.  The love between the two dogs is apparent and well written, to entice the reader to fall in love with these two dogs just as much as Billy does.  Their love for Billy, and vice versa, is so touching, you can't help but wish you had dogs like these.  In the end, they save Billy's life but Old Dan, being the brawn of the two, bravely gives his life for his owner.  Little Ann, heartbroken and devastated, succumbs to a broken heart.  Between their two graves grows a red fern, which legend says to only be able  to be planted by angels.


In the Classroom

This book is suited for young teenagers, grade 7 and up, as it does deal with death in a very touching and sentimental way.  Although some younger students might be able to enjoy the book, I wouldn't feel comfortable as an educator subjecting younger students to this book without parental consent first. 

As mentioned above, this book gives the perfect example of a boy who is determined and works hard for what he wants.  In my classroom, I'd use this to my advantage by having everyone present something that they have worked hard for in their life.

Oh, and there's a movie!  What a great way to teach about compare and contrast! 

If you haven't read the book yourself, I strongly recommend it.  Make sure you have a box of Kleenex on hand, and don't say I didn't warn you!

Happy Tuesday


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