where the red fern grows book report


1. Why does Grandpa say that Billy shouldn't tell his father about the dogs? (His father wants to buy a mule and probably could use the money Billy is saving. )

2. Why do the names carved in the tree seem perfect to Billy for his pups? (They are in the clearing where Billy found the magazine ad, the same clearing where he prayed for pups. )

3. Why do Billy's parents think they should move to town? (They want the children to go to school and be exposed to the world. )

4. How do the curiosity and stubbornness of a raccoon enable Billy to trap one? (The trap lures the curious coon with something shiny. Because the raccoon is stubborn, it won't let go of the shiny item and its paw gets stuck. )


5. Why is Grandpa dumbfounded when Billy brings in his $50? (He probably didn't realize how serious Billy was or think he could save so much money. )

6. Why doesn't Billy tell his parents he is going to Tahlequah? (They don't know about the dogs; he is afraid to tell them. )

7. How is Billy's life different from that of the children in town? (He doesn't wear shoes, is schooled at home; spends his time by the river and in the mountains. )

8. Why do Billy and his father care about whether a raccoon is caught in a sports-manlike way? (Part of the hunt is outwitting the clever raccoon; they have respect for the animal. )


9. Character revelation: What does it show about Billy's character when he buys gifts for his family? (He is a thoughtful boy; he cares about his family and doesn't mean to upset them. )

10. Foreshadowing: Who is the man in the first chapter? Why does the author start the story that way? (The man is Billy. Although he never went back to the Ozarks, his memories and respect for hounds never left him. The author wants the reader to understand how important this time was in Billy's life. )


11. What things would you be willing to wait and work for for two years?



1. Why does Mama worry about Billy? (He is out alone at night hunting; she is afraid harm will come to him. )

2. How does Papa's treatment of Billy change? (He begins to treat him like a man—with more respect. )

3. Why doesn't Billy give up when his dogs have a raccoon up the “big tree”? (He promised the dogs they'd get a raccoon. )

4. How do the Pritchard boys get Billy to accept their bet? (They insult Grandpa who gets mad and puts up the money. )


5. Why would a hunter respect raccoons? (They are very clever at misleading dogs; they put

up a good fight—a challenge. )

6. Why does Grandpa put soap in Billy's pocket? (He is “washing his mouth out with soap” when Billy's stories get too far-fetched. )

7. Why does Grandpa lock the store when he goes to the mill? (He doesn't trust the Pritchard boys. )

8. Do miracles really happen to Billy, or does he solve his own problems? (Answers will vary; students should give reasons. )

9. Why doesn't Billy want to kill the ghost coon? (He has too much respect for him. )

10. Would Rubin have killed Billy's dogs if he hadn't tripped on the ax? Give reasons for your answer. (Possible: Yes, he was proud of his dog and thought it might be killed by Billy's dogs. He wasn't afraid of violence. No, he might hit his own dog by mistake. )


11. Narrative suspense: Why doesn't the author tell what Billy's father is doing with the money Billy earns? (Possible: It's not important to the story. Or, he doesn't want to give the ending away. )

12. Characterization: What does Billy's treatment of Rubin tell you about Billy? (He isn't mean like Rubin; he believes in a fair contest. )


13. Which of Billy's dogs would you like to have? Why?

14. How did you feel about Grandpa accepting the Pritchards' bet?



1. Why are Billy's dogs unusual? (They fight together, won't eat until the other one does, save one another from danger, share food, watch over Billy. )

2. How does Big Dan's behavior get Billy and the dogs in trouble? (He challenges any game which often leads to difficult situations. He fights the mountain lion. )

3. Why does Billy bury Old Dan on the hillside? (He would be able to hear hounds as they hunted through the countryside; it was a beautiful spot. )


4. Why do the hunters at the contest treat Billy like an equal? (They respect his dogs and are good sportsmen. )

5. Did Grandpa sign up for the contest for Billy's sake or his own sake? (Answers will vary. Students should give reasons. )

6. How do you know that Billy is a good hunter? (He uses his experience; is patient; knows his dogs well; is a good judge of the habits of raccoons. )

7. Why is Billy so willing to give his cup to his youngest sister? (She asks for it; he loves her; it is enough for him to win the contest. )

8. How is Billy helped to understand his dogs' deaths? (The legend of the red fern helps him. )


9. Foreshadowing: On the way to the contest, Billy hears two screech owls—a sign of bad luck. How does this event foreshadow events in the story? (His dogs both die not long afterward. )



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