"Where the Red Fern Grows" by Wilson Rawls. The most memorable part of this book is when Billy Colman, the main character wears his father's raccoon hat and goes hunting with his hound dogs: Old Dan and Little Ann. He gets into fights with the Pritchard brothers, and he dreams of getting his dogs to hunt in the coon hunting contest, which will have him training his dogs around the clock, hunting raccoons and rodents alike. The book's climax is when Billy Colman sets out to get the "ghost coon". This final hunt will intrigue readers and have them wandering if Billy's dog will reach the same demise as "Old Yeller" (a story which most kids, born after 1990 have no recollection)
Many dog enthusiasts will conjure up sympathetic emotions in the final act of "Where the Red Fern Grows".
My second read-through of this book came when I was an assistant teacher in a middle school class, in the inner city, and this was there book of the month to read. I enjoyed the book discussions with these middle school kids in particular , because they commented on the book so freely (that is if you,the teacher, asked the right questions.) For example a popular discussion question was:What is your favorite part of the book? A middle-schooler response was "I like the dog fights", this was usually punctuated with a middle school teacher asking him or her, if they ever been to a farm or been hunting? If they ever seen a dog's role on the farm? Most likely a kid in the inner city, would respond "no" they never been to a farm, and plain in simple, they thought a dog's role, is "to be a dog". The Global Dig