Interest LevelReading LevelReading A-ZATOSWord Count
Grades 4 - 8Grades 4 - 8V5.035968

When a novel like Huckleberry Finn, or The Yearling, comes along it defies customary adjectives because of the intensity of the respouse it evokes in the reader. Such a book, we submit, is Old Yeller; to read this eloIquently simple story of a boy and his dog in the Texas hill country is an unforgettable and deeply moving experience.

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 tip 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.

Old Yeller is a story that will be read and treasured by many thousands for years to come. In a shorter form, this has appeared as a three-part serial in Collier's.

Hardcover, 176 pages
Published on July 11, 1956 by Harper
ISBN-10: 0060115459
ISBN-13: 9780060115456
53 Book Reviews
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  • nclines7
    nclines7Friday, May 3, 2019 at 1:53 pm55 stars
    Im in second place on the quiz
    • nclines7
      nclines7Friday, May 3, 2019 at 1:52 pm55 stars
      Yeahhhh this is one of the best books of all times
      • puppy loverThursday, March 28, 2019 at 6:57 pm
        this book touches my heart. It is so emotional and is one of the most amazing books that I read
        • Isaiah Friday, November 16, 2018 at 6:09 am
          I got relay interested in this book when I started reading it.
          • bookconsumor Friday, September 21, 2018 at 11:35 am
            it does have a little sad part but there is the good part where they have the other pup
            • bookconsumor Friday, September 21, 2018 at 11:35 am
              This book is highly recommended by me it is a great book and it has a allot of fun and cool things in it. if you where to read this book it would be pretty cool. my favorite in this book is when Old Yeller saves little Arliss from the bear. i think tha you would really like this book
              • gameboy333
                gameboy333Friday, August 10, 2018 at 5:23 pm55 stars
                so sad but i loved it
                • catsarecool
                  catsarecoolWednesday, August 8, 2018 at 8:36 pm33 stars
                  I cried so much if you are emotional like me don't read it.
                  • Turtles21Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 6:05 pm
                    i loved this book i give it a five stars because i thought it was one of the best stories ive read because i love books about animals
                    • happypug12
                      happypug12Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 6:01 pm44 starsFeatured
                      Old Yeller was a truly touching classical about the bond of man and dog. Well, not exactly MAN, Travis is only a fourteen year old boy who's been charged with one important task: Be the man of the family until his Pa gets back from his travels—maybe with the new horse Travis' always been wanting. He's doing the best he can with chores, hunting, and dealing with his rowdy five-year-old brother, Little Arliss. But then a big, ugly, yeller dog with a stub for a tail and a missing ear shows up and guiltlessly steals their meat, causing Travis to instantly hate it. But as "Old Yeller", as everyone starts to call him, starts showing his bravery, intelligence, and usefulness, Travis begins to warm up to the mangy dog. Old Yeller was a straight-forward and well-paced book, never dropping my attention for a second. It captures the beauty and danger of living out on the wild frontier, and it really captures the raw emotions of dog and human. I loved this story, and I would recommend to all ages.