Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple

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Rawls, Wilson
New York : Bantam, 1992.
IL 5-8 RL 5.7
ISBN 0385323301

(6 booktalks)

Booktalk #1

A ten year old country boy has this thing about hunting. He waits years earning enough to buy his own coon dogs. All the while, he is listening to Grandpa's stories and tricks. His mom lets go as he spends nights catching coons with his dogs. We watch him learn the woods and we witness the lessons in fidelity that his dogs teach. An exciting conclusion is a hunting contest that pits the best dogs against human frailty and the harsh Ozark elements.

Booktalk #2

A boy named Billy Coleman who lives in the Oklahoma Ozarks wants to buy two coon hounds, but his parent canít afford to buy them for Billy. Billy works, buys the coons, trains them and they turn out to be the best hound dogs in the Ozarks. They win the Gold Cup for the coon hunt. One night, he went hunting and they treed a mountain lion, he jumps out of the tree and the fight begins. Will the coon hounds win or is the mountain lion to much for the little hounds?  (Kurtis Dake, student, Mansfield High School)

Booktalk #3
Billy is a kid who is sick for dogs. He wants only one type of dog and that is a red boned coon hound. Billy works for 2 years to get enough money for his dogs. He finally gets enough money and buys the dogs at his grandpaís store. Billy went to town about 30 miles down stream to get his dogs at a packaging store. Billy spends the night in a cave along the river. However, Billy encounters a mountain lion. How will Billy make it out of the cave and make it back to his house?  (Callen Calkins, student, Mansfield High School)
Booktalk #4
Have you ever wanted something so bad it made you sick? In the book Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls, the main character Billy wants two coon hound hunting dogs so bad it makes him sick and his mama is very worried about him.  All he can do is eat, sleep, and dream coon hounds.  After working really hard for two years, he saves up enough money and finally gets two coon hounds of his own.  Billy works with his dogs everyday and trains Old Dan and Little Ann into the best coon hunting dogs in Cherokee county.  When Billy's grandpa invites Billy to go to a coon hunting competition, Billy and his dogs tree the most coons and gain the respect of many hunters.  As the story goes on Old Dan and Little Ann prove to be more than just hunting dogs, they turn out to be Billy's best friends and end up saving his life.  (Stefanie Rogers,, college student)

Booktalk #5

You may remember when you would do anything for a dog when you were a kid, or maybe your kids want a dog so badly it pains them not to have one.  Fortunately, I have never experienced this because ever since I was born my family has always owned at least one dog.

The book Where the Red Fern Grows takes place in the Ozark Mountains in Oklahoma during the Great Depression.  During this time all the people were going through a struggle, especially farmers.  Since there were very few jobs available a lot of people had a hard time buying food for the week.

In this book a boy named Billy desperately wanted two good hunting dogs.  He didnâ€ôt want to settle for just a regular dog; he wanted good hunting dogs.  In addition to that, he wanted two of them; one would not do for Billy.  Good hunting dogs were more expensive than just an ordinary dog.  Therefore, since times were tough, Billyâ€ôs father was unable to afford those dogs.  That is when Billy decided he was going to work really hard for these dogs.  He sold goods to the fisherman, and save every last penny he earned.

When Billy finally had enough money to buy the dogs he snuck his way into town to get the dogs.  While on the way back home Billy and the dogs get tired so Billy decides to sleep with the dogs in a cave for the night.  However, Billy and the dogs stumble upon a mountain lion.  Read Where the Red Fern Grows to find out what happens next.  (Nathan Kruse,, college student)

Booktalk #6

"I was ten years old when I first became infected with this terrible disease. I'm sure no boy in the world had it worse than I did. It's not easy for a young boy to want a dog and not be able to have one. It starts gnawing on his heart, and gets all mixed up in his dreams. It gets worse and worse, until finally it becomes almost unbearable."
 Wilson Rawls sends us on an exciting journey with Billy Colman a young boy who has a big heart and determination to get what he wants. After two years of hard work and saving Billy gets his dream, two coonhound pups. Through out the book Billy, Old Dan, and Little Ann have many wild hunting adventures through the hills and bottoms of the Ozarks. But where there is something good there is something sad. For more about a boy and his two dogs and the legend of the red fern read Where the Red Fern Grows. It's about love and adventure that will touch your heart forever.  (Ashley Cox,, college student)

SUBJECTS:     Dogs -- Fiction
                        Ozark Mountains -- Fiction


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