Parents' Guide to

Where the Red Fern Grows

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Tearjerker about country boy and his hound dogs.

Book Wilson Rawls Animals 1961
Where the Red Fern Grows Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 19 parent reviews

age 9+

I want to have dogs-2 ... and I would name them Dan and Ann!!

This is a great book - so touching , so realistic so inspiring . Really loved it .

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
age 10+

Cry and Scream and Laugh

This is the best book. I read with a class of 6th graders. One big theme is death. A boy dies in a freak accident. There is also a gruesome, detailed fight between a dog and mountain lion where the dog eventually dies. Then, the last death is another dog passing from grief. Billy is a great role model, especially for kids today. Billy has to work very hard to earn money and earn his dogs. Young people can read this but it can be tedious at times. Its great for 5th-6th graders. MANY of my students cry. It is powerful and emotional. Who knew so many people could feel attached to a little hillbilly boy and his dogs??

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (19 ):
Kids say (68 ):

This exciting novel, full of fast-paced, exciting hunting scenes, but it also has great emotional depth. Billy's family life is warm and supportive, and his connection to his pets is quite profound. Young readers will care about Billy and his hounds, and will eagerly follow them through every plot twist and adventure.

Where the Red fern Grows is also a romantic period piece that portrays a rural America where a boy could ramble through the countryside with his dogs all night long, in complete freedom. Based on the author's own boyhood, this boy-and-his-dog story is exciting, uplifting, and heartbreaking.

Book Details

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