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Old Dan And Little Ann


I think the nine-year-old boy and the six-year-old girl crying themselves to sleep right now over the fate of Old Dan and Little Ann would agree with the distinguished gentleman from the Times.

But that childhood rite of passage is complete. I hadn’t read Where The Red Fern Grows [4] since I was nine years old. I was sitting on the school bus one afternoon when I reached the end, and cried my eyes out in front of everybody. Tonight I had to keep myself from looking up from the page at my kids as I read tonight’s conclusion, or I would have burst into tears myself. What a beautiful, beautiful book that is.

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9 Comments To "Old Dan And Little Ann"

#1 Comment By Persephone On May 12, 2013 @ 8:33 am

As soon as I saw the title of your post, I thought, “Oh, no no no, don’t remind me…”

I also haven’t read that book since age 9. Also cried my eyes out at the end. Feel misty-eyed just thinking about it…

#2 Comment By Todd On May 12, 2013 @ 9:35 am

Good thing I’ve never read that book, as I can barely hold it together through one of those Sarah McLachlan ASPCA commercials.

#3 Comment By EliteCommInc. On May 12, 2013 @ 2:05 pm

One of my favorite stories. A tale for every child who ever loved a dog.

#4 Comment By EliteCommInc. On May 12, 2013 @ 2:06 pm

sidenote: though I hope fox hunting and coon hunting soon go the way of the dinosaurs.

#5 Comment By Josh McGee On May 12, 2013 @ 2:20 pm

Our class in grade school had the book read to us. As I recall, there was a film version as well, with quite a death scene. That book/movie made quite an impact on our class.

As a young boy, the movie was also good. Then again, as a young boy all movies were good. It wasn’t until later the realization came that some (most?) movies are not good, and life has never been the same.

#6 Comment By Sands On May 12, 2013 @ 2:56 pm

Stone Fox was the book that jerked the tears right out of me at that age.

#7 Comment By Gavin On May 12, 2013 @ 7:55 pm

The Selfish Giant had the same effect on me. It was only many, many years later, I discovered that this story was written by Oscar Wilde.

Wilde was a very complex man. The side of him that wrote this story won out in the end.

#8 Comment By Kevin in OH On May 13, 2013 @ 9:41 am

Red Fern is the saddest book ever written (which I mean as a compliment).

Stone Fox is a pale substitute, but probably more appropriate for reading in schools, so you don’t have to deal with the whole class watching you cry.

#9 Comment By Peggy On May 13, 2013 @ 2:12 pm

My 4th grade teacher, Ms. Wallace, read this book to us over several weeks. She was a wonderful teacher and we adored her. But I was genuinely traumatized by the ending of this book. Like Persephone, my automatic reaction to the title was “Old Dan and Little Ann! Gaaah!”

But it was too late by that point.

But I also agree with you, Rod. It is a truly beautiful book. I do not regret my exposure to this book one little bit. I think should be on the reading list of every child in America because it teaches about real life and love in such an engaging way. But personally, I would never give it to a child under 12. Its just too rough in places. Old Dan is eviscerated. Little Ann dies of grief. And lets not forget what happened to Ruben. Shudder. I can still picture that to this day.