Parent reviews for Where the Red Fern Grows

Common Sense says

Tearjerker about country boy and his hound dogs.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 21 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 78 reviews
Adult Written bySt. Dominic Lit April 2, 2019

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 contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byFloyd S March 27, 2019

Paints vivid images

There are many positive reviews but I think it only fair to mention a few other points. The boy leaves home unannounced for 3 days when he gets the dogs, yet doesn’t get into any serious trouble for doing so from his parents. Also he doesn’t seem to have any responsibilities around the farm. I think these paint an unrealistic image. The story would have better if he overcame these struggles, and that there are consequences to his actions. Be aware also that there is a strong religious undertone to the book. I did enjoy and would highly recommend it.

This title contains:

Educational Value
Parent of a 1, 4, and 9-year-old Written byAlexandria W June 6, 2018

A wonderfully emotional adventure!

We loved this as a family. My kids were VERY emotional at the parts toward the end and decided to not finish. Without giving away the ending, my children have experienced this happening and I think that atleast for my 9 year old it hit close to home. We will read this again for sure!!

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive role models
Adult Written byNamah November 9, 2019

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 contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byshining_rainbow101 October 17, 2018

Amazing shows lots of integrity

It had a lot of honesty, determination, and integrity. It was one of the best books I have ever read. It has a lot of great character traits that we can use in real life, because he keeps his promises, he is brave, he has integrity, he is determined, and a great model for younger kids, but not to young beacuse their is some violence in this book.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byTheWeirdestWeirdo October 17, 2018

Loved it!!

I absolutely loved it! Billy had great characters traits, like trustworthiness,truthfulness,compassion,determination and so much more! It can’t get any better! Totally 5/5

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive role models
Adult Written byReading_Is_Fun October 17, 2018

Awesome! Shows a lot of great traits that you would want a regular kid to have!

This was the best book ever!!!!! I think kids would love it as well as adults do! What I love most about this book is the trait that are show in this book! For example: Compassion, Endurance, reliability, Bravery, Thankfulness, and so mush more! I think kids should use Billy to set an example for them, who knows maybe adults should too! My kids in my classroom adored this book and wanted to read it over and over again. This is a true classic!

This title contains:

Positive role models
Adult Written byMadeline D. May 4, 2018

Extreme Tear-Jerker and Guaranteed to leave you in Tears

This book is extremely sad, and if you like happy ending with pets, don't even pick this up. This book is even sadder than Old Yeller.

This title contains:

Language
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult Written byBrad O August 27, 2017

A Book That Makes You Smile, Cry, and Laugh!

If your child is above the age of 8 or 9 and they have not read this then something must be terribly wrong. When I read this when I was 12, it was probably the first book I cried over. This book is so amazingly depicted that not even today's authors can top this one. I love the story of Billy and his dogs. It so poetic, explorative, that I don't even know what else to say. Despite all the contrasts and critiques, this book is so well put together that I even had dreams that I was Billy and I could achieve anything I want to achieve. Even though this book is decades old, this book is never too old to remain as an uplifted and encouraged individual to be steadfast and to make sacrifices in life.

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byChris B. October 6, 2016

I love this book!

I just finished reading this for my second time a couple of days ago, and I love it. Definitely a timeless classic that I would recommend to anyone, especially dog lovers!

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 8 and 12-year-old Written byHeather A. September 24, 2016

For mature audience

This book is often read to younger children. However a middle school aged child will better understand the plot and context of the book. This is a story of a boy coming of age in the country and raising 2 hunting dogs . These dogs become his entire life, confidants, and unfortunately he loses them in a horrific manner at the end of the book. There are some mature violent moments involving hunting and skinning raccoons, a vicious attack by a mountain lion, and the gruesome death of a boy by an axe. All parts are so relevant to the young boy protagonist becoming a man, however children under 11 typically don't understand this. Also within the story are themes of poverty and discrimination, education, bullying, responsibility, compassion, coping with death, and maturing from child to adult. A truly amazing coming of age story. Would highly recommend for kids in Grades 6-8.

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Violence & scariness
Adult Written byschwaby January 22, 2016

Where the Red Fern grows

Billy love's his dog's with all his heart when it said in the being with 2 dogs saved his life as Little Anne and Old Dan did with the bob cat and Little Anne loved Old Dan with all her heart when Old Dan died and Little Anne it hit all of Billy's family really hard and with winning the gold champion cup and those 2 red hounds were Billy's heart..... Be ready to cry the last few chapters... This is a heart warming book... READ THIS BOOK...

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byAshley_2003 October 31, 2015

Where the red fern grows

Where the red fern grows is a emotional and happy story. This story is about a relationship between him and his dog. At the end of the story it starts getting sad, I cried when I read this book and I never cry for stuff like that some of u would or would not cry. And just to say some of the people from the book die can't say the names. When I read the book I really loved it it's a really interesting book.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Adult Written byindie_q March 1, 2015

Sentimental content

"Where the Red Fern grows" is about young boy named Billy who has had this dream of raising enough money to buy his own hounds. A conflict in the story is Billy's family is poor and the dogs Billy wants are really pricey. The story also tries to show the theme of perseverance in the way Billy had tried so many different ways to raise enough money to buy these dogs. This book was pretty good and at the end was a pretty emotional scene for the reader. I would recommend this book to teacher to read along with students and to partake in activities.

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Adult Written byGo Canucks GO!!! March 7, 2012

Hot Book! >:D

this book is a super great book, i think whoever reads this, you will never forget in a million years what this book is about. And also, this book talks a lot of bloody stuff, like Old Dan got a huge cut in the middle of his stomach, and blood all over the place... well anyways, most of the people reading this book will usaully cry and cry and cry, but I think their is nothing so impression for you to cry for. However, once again this is a great book, everybody over 11 should read it.
PS: have fun!!!!!!

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Parent of a 10 and 11-year-old Written bylitmom123 January 28, 2011

Good, but not without faults.

This book has a decent story but the writing is sometimes repetitive and some of the scenes are completely pointless. For example, there is a scene in the book wherein we find out that Lil Ann is gunshy. This is never again addressed anywhere in the book. Even later, when they hunt at the championship, the boy's father brings a gun, but there is no mention of Lil Ann being gunshy. Also, I found the metaphors in the book were sometimes quite weak or overused.
The story was strong, and I found it was compelling, but the ending and the justifcation for it was hard to swallow. It felt gratutious.
That said, the protaganist is a decent role model, and truly shows that hard work and passion can get you far.

This title contains:

Positive role models
Parent of a 13-year-old Written byTsion April 5, 2009

I Honestly Have No Idea How You Can't Love This Book!

This and LASSIE COME-HOME are the two greatest dog books of all-time, and you would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't just love this book.
Violence is the only issue in the book. There are some intense coon chases, a bloody fight with a bobcat, and the saddest ending of all time, which may affect some younger readers. I believe there is also one "d**n".
Adult Written bytonysplit07 January 27, 2009

i cried.

it was an exalent book
Adult Written byCaramelldansenWeegee January 3, 2009

Waaah! =(

I love this book. I had to read this in my reading class in 7th grade, and I cried. HARD. It's a good book, and I enjoy it. =D
Adult Written byIrishLogan April 9, 2008

Top choice year after year for sixth graders

I assigned this book as a mandatory summer read for kids entering my 6th grade class. Each year, everyone loves it... girls, boys, it doesn't matter the gender. I chose it because I remembered reading it in fifth grade and enjoying it as a kid, and hoped my students would too. Each year when I am creating my new required summer reading list, the current 6th grade picks it as their top recommendation for the incoming class. One word of caution though-- one of my kids loved the book so much, he begged his mother each day of summer until they got a dog:)I'm sure his mother loved me for that!!!

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