by Phyllis Reynolds Naydor
Read November 2008
This was my daughters next pick off of the Newberry Awards list. Unfortunately, I am finding that some of the content of some of the books on the Newberry list are not quite appropriate for my daughter yet. I would never censor what she reads, but the subject matter is not appropriate for a seven-year old.
Fortunately, this was not one of those books. There were things we had to talk about such as the difference between the south during that era and now. Some of the language I had to explain. Not inappropriate, just not used anymore. As a seven-year old, she would have had trouble reading this book, even though she is an advanced reader. The dialect was best read aloud by an adult or older reader.
This is the story of a boy and his dog, or rather a boy and someone elses dog. Marty is an eleven-year old boy that enjoys wandering the wilderness around his family home. One day he finds a small beagle following him around. The beagle is obviously shy, but continues to follow Marty home. Marty gains his trust and they instantly form a bond. Unfortunately when Marty’s Father gets home, he insists that they must return the dog to his owner. He suspects the dog belongs to Judd Travers, a local hunter.
They drive the dog to Judd Travers’ house and he confirms the dog is his and gives him a great big kick for running off. Marty is horrified. He can’t understand how anyone could treat a dog that way. His mind will not let him rest. He is continuously thinking of the dog he calls Shiloh.
Shiloh runs off again, and Marty finds him. This time he is determined to save him from Judd. He knows it is wrong to lie to his parents and keep the dog even though he belongs to someone else, but he can’t let Shiloh go back. The lies eat at him daily. He hates lying.
The rest of the story is about the struggle Marty fights within himself. He knows there are wrongs on both sides…but how can he choose? I will leave the ending of the book out so as to not spoil it for you. I would highly recommend this book. It won the Newberry Award in 1992.
We just started the movie and already there are differences. Both of my girls are still enjoying the movie so far.
The Movie Based Book Cover
Topic: A young boy is determined to find a way to find a dog who he knows is being abused.
Setting: Rural South Carolina, approx 1960’s
Themes: animal abuse, guns, animal attack, hunting