Common Sense Media says

In taut, unforgettable drama, nothing is simple.




Newbery Medal and Honors

What parents need to know

Positive role models

Marty lies to his parents and others, sneaks out, and acts deceitfully.


A German shepherd savages Shiloh; Judd beats his dogs. Every scene Judd is in is frightening; the German shepherd attacks Shiloh.

Not applicable

Rare mild religious profanity.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Judd drinks and chews tobacco.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that kids love this edge-of-the-seat story of a boy going up against a really scary mean man to protect an abused dog.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

When Marty hides a beagle from Judd Travers, the meanest man around, he thinks he's protecting the dog from abuse. But it means lying to his parents and sneaking around. Worse, Shiloh ends up in more danger than ever. Nothing is simple in this taut, unforgettable drama.

Is it any good?


At first, the situation in SHILOH seems clear: Judd is mean, and Marty is heroically trying to protect a defenseless dog. But things soon become less clear-cut, and Marty's actions inadvertently cause Shiloh to suffer far more seriously than he did at Judd's hands. And keeping Shiloh away from Judd seems to drag Marty increasingly into behavior that he knows is wrong. He slides rapidly down the slope of the ends justifying the means, which are increasingly dishonest.

Finally, Marty's choices narrow to trying to decide on the lesser of evils, rather than choosing what is clearly right, and in the end the biggest lesson the book seems to teach is that nothing is as simple as it seems. This nerve-wracking story, which challenges readers to think for themselves, refuses to make things easy.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about right and wrong.

  • Do you ever feel mixed up about what's right and what's wrong?

  • Is Marty

  • justified in keeping secrets from his family?

  • Do you think the deal

  • between Marty and Judd is fair?

Book details

Author:Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Publication date:January 1, 1991
Number of pages:144
Award:Newbery Medal and Honors

This review of Shiloh was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written bycaitlin89 September 17, 2009

Really good!

I read this book and it broke my heart to see someone abuse an animal like that! I read it once and that was it! It was a great book, but I still can't get through it without crying!
Teen, 15 years old Written byMisty waterfall January 4, 2011

Perfect for older kids

IT WAS A GREAT BOOK. There was some violence so dont let young kids read the book. I love dogs so dog books are good for me.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great role models
Parent of a 10 and 12 year old Written bydmjohn1 July 15, 2010

Contains some bad language, but overall a good book.

It is a really good book, but there are some words and phrases that my daughter is not allowed to use. There were even some that she was not yet familiar with. The language made her uncomfortable.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great role models


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