A boy’s puppy love: eight small feet and two wiggly tails

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An Ozarks boy (Stewart Petersen) saves up to buy two hounds in 1930s Oklahoma.

Crown International Pictures BRENT NORTHUP Film Review Where the Red Fern Grows (1974)

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Wilson Rawls’ 1961 book “Where the Red Fern Grows” begins with a man breaking up a dog fight and taking a wounded hound home to nurse him back to health.

“I gave him a bath and rubbed all the soreness from his muscles. He drank quarts of warm milk and ate all the meat I had in the house.”

Soon after he was healthy, the rehabilitated hound headed to the back gate to say a polite goodbye.

“He walked out, stopped, turned around, and looked at me. He whined and licked my hand. He thanked me by wagging his tail. With tears in my eyes, I said, ‘You’re more than welcome, old fellow. In fact, you could’ve stayed here as long as you wanted to. Good luck and good huntin.’”

Read a child that first chapter, and you’ll likely hear: “Can will you read

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