This week, Andover High School book reviewer John Chartier looks at a celebrated children's book that examines the powerful bond between a young boy and his dogs.



Some of the best books ever written are those that are about far-off places, magical lands and creatures, or even those about famous historical figures in crazy situations. Then again, it is sometimes real life that creates the most intriguing and endearing works of literature the world over. In "Where the Red Fern Grows" by Wilson Rawls, one of these remarkable works is told about a young boy and his red bone hounds and how the bonds between them change the boy's life forever.

Billy Coleman is a young boy growing up in the South. More than anything else, he wants two dogs so that he can continue his hobby of hunting raccoons and have some friends along the way. His new friends don't come without a lot of hard labor, though, because his family is far from wealthy. But after a long time, and a lot of sweat, he finally has enough. When Billy gets his two hounds, Old Dan and Little Ann, he has no idea what kind of friendship will form or what lengths his dogs will go to in order to protect their master.

This is an excellent story, but make sure you ask your parents before picking up this polished piece of literature, as you should do with any book before you begin.

I give "Where the Red Fern Grows" by Wilson Rawls a solid seven out of 10. It is a great book that will appeal to almost all readers, and is especially suited for those readers who enjoy adventure novels or even classics such as "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" or "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" that focus on the escapades of everyday kids. If you enjoy this book, Rawls also wrote "Summer of the Monkeys," an equally endearing book.

Wilson Rawls has a writing style that is not only easy to read by people of all ages, but is also very easy to relate to. In particular, this story has universal qualities that make the events seem unremarkable, while the story is actually powerful and poignant.

So take your dogs and hike on down to a local bookstore or library and pick up your very own copy of "Where the Red Fern Grows" by Wilson Rawls today! Just remember, there are some bonds that go beyond what we can simply see - and can be felt long after our stories are finished.

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