Where the Red Fern Grows


Title: Where the Red Fern Grows Author: Wilson Rawls Illustrator: N/a
Publisher: Garden City; Doubleday Company Inc.

Genre: Realistic Fiction Level: Upper Number of pages: 212 Pub. Date: 1961


This is the story of a young boy, Billy, who wants hunting dogs more than anything. After trying everything to get his parents to buy them for him he decides to start saving up to buy the dogs himself. After two years of saving he buys two puppies. He names his dog Old Dan and Little Ann.  The dogs are wonderful hunting dogs and end up winning a championship competition. Then one horrible night Billy and his dogs encounter a mountain lion. After an intense fight, the mountain lion dies. Unfortunately, Dan and Ann don’t make it. Billy is left wondering why his dogs had to die. As they move to a new town Billy goes back to his dogs graves and finds a red fern, a plant that legends say can only be planted by an angel, has grown over them.


This book can be classified under two different realistic fiction categories. The first is the becoming one’s own person category. The book talks about Billy becoming a man and also describes his relationship with his family members. Also I would say that Ann and Dan become a part of Billy’s family. Also, this book could be classified as a Coping with problems of the human condition book. At the end of this book, Billy has to deal with the death of both of his dogs. Finally, this book is set in a realistic setting, with realistic characters but they aren’t real.


This is the saddest book I have ever read in my entire life. I knew that the dogs weren’t going to make it from the first couple pages of the book. However, when they finally pass away, I cried like a baby. It was so depressing for me that Little Ann last her will to live when Old Dan died. Also I felt so bad for Billy. Anyone who ever had a pet knows how hard it is to loose them. Rawls does a wonderful job of pulling the heart strings of the reader and making them feel Billy’s pain.


During: Students will write a summary of what happens each time this book is read.


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