This is a book about a boy named Billy who really wanted some hunting dogs (red bone coon hounds, to be specific). Billy lives in Oklahoma, in the Ozarks, about 100 years ago. He saved up all of his money for two whole years to get the $50 he needed to send away to Kentucky for two puppies. He asks his Grandpa to help order the puppies, and when they arrive in the nearest city, Billy walks by himself to get his dogs (its over 20 miles each way!).
Billy loves his dogs. He names them Old Dan and Little Ann, after a carving he sees in a tree (Dan + Ann). And he teaches them how to hunt raccoons.
They catch a lot of coons and give all the hides to his grandpa. His grandpa signs Billy’s dogs up for a hunting contest. Little Ann wins first prize (a silver cup) for best in show. And Billy’s dogs catch the most raccoons all week — they win $300 and a gold cup. Billy is so proud of them.
But the ending is really sad. I don’t really want to say too much about it, but my mom was crying.
The story is told by Billy as an old man, when he comes across a red bone coon hound being attacked by other dogs. He takes the dog home to feed it and take care of it for a few days, and he starts to remember his own dogs that he loved more than anything.
I really liked it. I’d give it 5 stars, but it was really sad.
You can read more of Joemyjoe’s reviews on his mom’s blog.