Old Yeller
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HarperCollins / 1995 / Paperback
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Old Yeller

HarperCollins / 1995 / Paperback

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The big, ugly, yellow dog showed up out of nowhere one night and stole a whole side of hanging pork, and when Travis went for him the next morning that dog started yelling like a baby before he was touched. Then he got into the spring water with five-year-old Arliss, Travis took an easy hate to Old Yeller, as they started to call him; in fact, he would have driven him off or killed him if it hadn't been for brother Arliss' loud and violent protests, So Yeller stayed, and Travis soon found he couldn't have got along without him.

Pa and Ma and Travis and Arliss lived on Birdsong Creek in the Texas hill country. It wasn't an easy life, but they had a snug cabin that Pa had built himself, and they had their own hogs and their own cattle, and they grew most of what else they needed. The only thing they and the rest of the settlers lacked that year in the late 1860's was cash, so the men decided to get together and drive all the cattle up to the new market in Abilene, Kansas, more than six hundred miles away.

Travis was only fourteen, but he was proud of his new role as man of the family and determined to live up to his responsibility. It was hard work, too, plowing until his legs ached, chopping wood until his hands were raw and his head was spinning, weeding the garden in the hot sun, toting the heavy buckets up from the spring, and trying to keep his mischievous little brother in line.

But there were pleasant moments, too: his Ma treating him like a man, and deer hunting in the early-morning stillness, and hot summer nights out in the corn patch under the stars with Old Yeller, trying to keep the coons and skunks out of the winter food supply. And there was plenty of excitement, like the fight between the two bulls, and the time Arliss nearly got mauled by the bear, and trying to catch and mark the new hogs. Here the suspense and excitement reach a peak, only to be topped a few pages later when the crazy-sick loafer wolf goes for Ma. Both times it is Yeller who saves them, only the second time it is not lucky for Yeller, as Travis comes to find out. And in finding out, Travis learns just how much he has come to love that big ugly dog, and he learns something about the pain of life, too. Recommended for ages 9 to 12. Since it's publication in 1956, Old Yeller has won countless awards including the 1957 Newbery Honor.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 192
Vendor: HarperCollins
Publication Date: 1995
Dimensions: 7 X 5 (inches)
ISBN: 0064403823
ISBN-13: 9780064403825
Ages: 9-12

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Publisher's Description

A timeless American classic and one of the most beloved children’s books ever written, Old Yeller is a Newbery Honor Book that explores the poignant and unforgettable bond between a boy and the stray dog who becomes his loyal friend.

When his father sets out on a cattle drive toward Kansas for the summer, fourteen-year-old Travis Coates is left to take care of his family and their farm. Living in Texas Hill Country during the 1860s, Travis comes to face new, unanticipated, and often perilous responsibilities in the frontier wilderness.

A particular nuisance is a stray yellow dog that shows up one day and steals food from the family. But the big canine who Travis calls “Old Yeller” proves his worth by defending the family from danger. And Travis ultimately finds help and comfort in the courage and unwavering love of the dog who comes to be his very best friend.

Fred Gipson’s novel is an eloquently simple story that is both exciting and deeply moving. It stands alongside works like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Where The Red Fern Grows, and Shiloh as a beloved and enduring classic of literature. Originally published in 1956 to instant acclaim, Old Yeller later inspired a hit film from Walt Disney. Just as Old Yeller inevitably makes his way into the Coates family’s hearts, this book will find its own special place in readers’ hearts.

Author Bio

With Old Yeller, Fred Gipson secured his place as one of the finest novelists in America. The book was published to instant acclaim and has become one of the most beloved children's classics ever written. Since its publication in 1956, Old Yeller has won countless awards, including the 1957 Newbery Honor. Mr. Gipson's other works include both fiction and non-fiction. He grew up in the Texas hill country and died in 1973.

Editorial Reviews

“Exciting and heartwarming.”
“Occasionally, but very rarely, one reads a book with the increasing certainty, as one turns the pages, that a classic is unfolding before one’s eyes.”
“The combination of excellent writing and the sensitivity to human emotions places it on a shelf with the classics in juvenile literature.”

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