Old Yeller

Old Yeller

4.4 434
by Fred Gipson, Steven Polson, Steven Polson, Carl Burger

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A wily stray, Old Yeller helps Travis and his family stay safe from the many dangers of the wild Texas frontier in this heartwarming tale of the Old West.  See more details below


A wily stray, Old Yeller helps Travis and his family stay safe from the many dangers of the wild Texas frontier in this heartwarming tale of the Old West.

Editorial Reviews

Chicago Sunday Tribune
Occasionally, but very rarely, one reads a book with the increasing certainty, as one turns the pages, that a classic is unfolding before one's eyes.
Saturday Review of Literature
A bestseller for generations, the combination of excellent writing and the sensitivity to human emotions places it on a shelf with the classics in juvenile literature.
Children's Literature
This novel is one of the classics of juvenile fiction. Set in the mid-1800s on the Texas frontier, young Travis must become the man of the house when his father heads north on a cattle drive. This is Travis's chance to prove how grown up and responsible he is, and he is up for the challenge. But a stray dog with a chewed off ear and boisterous personality adopts Travis's family and, at first, Travis thinks this dog is going to be nothing but trouble. The dog steals the family's meat and is no replacement for the dog Travis had when he was younger. But Arliss, Travis's younger brother, falls in love with the stray and they keep him for Arliss's sake, naming the dog Old Yeller, both for the color of his coat and the way he howls. Travis comes to find that Old Yeller is not only a smart and loyal dog, but also adamantly protective of the family. Old Yeller helps save the family numerous times from dangerous encounters with bears and wild hogs and proves to be the best hunting partner and work hand Travis could have hoped for. But when an outbreak of hydrophobia hits the settlement, Old Yeller's heroics put him in danger and Travis is faced with a very difficult decision. This is a story that is both moving and humorous, and familiarizes readers with what it was like to live in this time and place. 2004 (orig. 1956), HarperTrophy/HarperCollins, Ages 10 up.
—Jennifer Chambliss

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.37(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.73(d)
Age Range:
12 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

We called him Old Yeller. The name had a sort of double meaning. One part meant that his short hair was a dingy yellow, a color that we called "yeller" in those days, The other meant that when he opened his head, the sound he let out came closer to being a yell than a bark.

I remember like yesterday how he strayed in out of nowhere to our log cabin on Birdsong Creek. He made me so mad at first that I wanted to kill him. Then, later, when I had to kill him, it was like having to shoot some of my own folks. That's how much I'd come to think of the big yeller dog.

He came in the late 1860's, the best I remember. Anyhow, it was the year that Papa and a bunch of other Salt Licks settlers formed a "pool herd" of their little separate bunches of steers and trailed them to the new cattle market at Abilene, Kansas.

This was to get "cash money," a thing that all Texans were short of in those years right after the Civil War. We lived then in a new country and a good one. As Papa pointed out the day the men talked over making the drive, we had plenty of grass, wood, and water. We bad wild game for the killing, fertile ground for growing bread corn, and the Indians had been put onto reservations with the return of U.S. soldiers to the Texas forts.

"In fact," Papa wound up, "all we lack having a tight tail-bolt on the world is a little cash money. And we can get that at Abilene."

Well, the idea sounded good, but some of the men still hesitated. Abilene was better than six hundred miles north of the Texas bill country we lived in. It would take months for the men to make the drive and ride back home. And all that time the womenfolks andchildren of Salt Licks would be left in a wild frontier settlement to make out the best they could.

Still, they needed money, and they realized that whatever a man does, he's bound to take some risks. So theytalked it over with each other and with their women and decided it was the thing to do. They told their folks what to do in case the Indians came off the reservation or the coons got to eating the corn or the !)cars got to killing too many hogs. Then they gathered their cattle, burned a trail brand on their hips, and pulled out on the long trail to Kansas.

I remember how it was the day Papa left. I remember his standing in front of the cabin with his horse saddled, his gun in his scabbard, and his bedroll tied on back of the cantle. I remember how tall and straight and handsome he looked, with his high-crowned hat and his black mustaches drooping in cow-horn curves past the corners of his mouth. And I remember how Mama was trying to keep from crying because he was leaving and how Little Arliss, who was only five and didn't know much, wasn't trying to keep from crying at all In fact, 'he xas howling his head off; not because Papa was leaving, but because he couldn't go, too.

I wasn't about to cry. I was fourteen years old, pretty near a grown man. I stood back and didn't let on for a minute that I wanted to cry.

Papa got through loving up Mama and Little Arliss and mounted his horse. I looked up at him. He motioned for me to come along. So I walked beside his horse down the trail that led under the big liveoaks and past the spring.

When he'd gotten out of hearing of the house, Papa reached down and put a hand on my shoulder.

"Now, Travis," he said, "you're getting to be a big boy; and while I'm gone, you'll be the man of the family, I want you to act like one. You take care of Mama and Little Arliss. You look after the work and don't wait around for your mama to point out what needs to be done. Think you can do that?"

"Yessir," I said.

"Now, there's the cows to milk and wood to cut and young pigs to mark and fresh meat to shoot. But mainly there's the corn patch. If you don't work it right or if you let the varmints eat up the roasting ears, we'll be without bread corn for the winter."

"Yessir," I said.

"All right, boy. I'll be seeing you this fall."

I stood there and let him ride on. There wasn't any more to say.

Suddenly I remembered and went running down the trail after him, calling for him to wait.

He pulled up his horse and twisted around in the saddle. "Yeah, boy," he said. "What is it?"

"That horse," I said.

"What horse?" he said, like he'd never heard me mention it before. "You mean you're wanting a horse?"

"Now, Papa," I complained. "You know I've been aching all over for a horse to ride. I've told you time and again."

I looked up to catch him grinning at me and felt foolish that I hadn't realized he was teasing.

"What you're needing worse than a horse is a good dog."

"Yessir," I said, "but a horse is what I'm wanting the worst...

Old Yeller. Copyright © by Fred Gipson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Old Yeller 4.4 out of 5 based on 2 ratings. 434 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is about a dog and his owner who go through many encounters of danger. The boy in this story Travis had a dog before old yeller but that dog died. The boy Travis his dad is going out West to find work and travis must be the man of the house. He has to do all the jobs his father did and take care of his little brother and put food on the table. When Travis gets this new dog he doesn't think he will like it because it reminds him of his old dog. But as time time goes by you will find out that Travis really loves this dog and will do anything to make sure its alright and is not harmed. The ending will bring tears to your eyes. I am judging this book to other books. This book Is a classic book that you would really enjoy if you like books about adventure and sorrow. This book reaches its goals of trying to get you to keep flipping the pages. This is a great book This would be a great book for you and your family that if you would read it im sure you would enjoy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a very good book thats about love and friendship i love it one of my favorites ever
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Who was Old Yeller? Old Yeller is a stray, ugly, and a thieving dog. Old Yeller protected Travis' family. Travis' dad is away for 4 months. Old Yeller and Travis developed a very special bond. Travis is not Yellers real owner. His family found him at their house chasing their horses. He was a strong and courageous dog. Yeller was a big help on the wild Texas frontier. Old Yeller protected Travis' family from any kind of danger. He protected them from a coyote. Yeller was my favorite character. He was an excellent guard dog. I connect to this book because Old Yeller is just like my dog dog Emma. They both steal things. I love Emma just the way Travis loved Yeller. I recommend you to read this book by Fred Gipson to people of all ages. It is a very classical book. The book is about a dog that helps a family. I think people will enjoy it the same way I did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is sad. It one of my fav books. Now all i have to do is find the movie. Soooooooooooo sad but good. It is a classic. My mom and dad never read this book. I love it. Now that i have a nook i am a bookworm. Read this book if you r not afrid to cry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read this book quite a bit, and I never get tired of reading it. Its a real tearjerker... but I love the compassion and the love that Travis feels for Yeller. Travis had to hold down the job of being man of the house while his dad is gone, and one day Yeller showed up. In the beginning, Travis had no patience for Yeller. But as Yeller became part of the family, he protected Arliss from wild animals. I must say that I found it hilarious that the youngster threw rocks at Travis when he kicked the dog. I didnt find the kicking very funny, but the fact that Arliss got angry and went after Travis with rocks and later a stick (one of the ones from the old days that was used to beat the dirt out of clothing) made me chuckle. The story flow was smooth. The language actually makes you visualize whats happening as you read along. Yeller was called Yeller for 2 reasons. Firstly, yeller is actually a color- kind of a dirty yellow. And the second reason is that whenever he barked, he sounded like he was yelling. Its a very heartwarming story, and I recommend it for all ages. The first time I read it was when I was in 3rd grade. I'm a freshman in highschool now, and Ive reread it many times. Absolute favorite book ever. READ IT. NOW. :3
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thise book is awsome but sad too i just got on page10
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just love this book! It is sad that they have to put him down. :( I do recommed this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a good book but itbwas sad. But made a goodblife point and it made alot of ppl cry
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“We call him Old Yeller. The name had a sort of double meaning. One part meant that his short hair was a dingy yellow, a color that we called “yeller” in those days. The other meant that when he opened his head, the sound he let out came closer to being a yell than a bark.” That is the dog that has been through everything, Old Yeller. Old Yeller is a dog of adventure. He is always getting into trouble, but is a wonderful dog to the family. There is so much that happens with Old Yeller around. For example, “The man’s name was Burn Sanderson. He told Mama who he was. He said that he had come from down San Antonio.” Burn Sanderson came looking for Old Yeller. Old Yeller supposedly was his lost dog, and he wanted him back. In this book you go through the crazy life of Old Yeller. At the end of the book, I was so connected to Old Yeller I cried. It was like letting a best friend go. Every page was full of great detail. The book takes you back in time when things were a lot different. I felt like I was on all the adventures of that “yeller” colored dog. Old Yeller shows that letting things go always comes in life, it doesn’t just happen to one person it happens to everyone. Old Yeller is a story of hope, adventure, and heart.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Old Yeller is about a dog that has a very loving family. He helps protect the whole family and while doing it he gets very sick. Good story but ending in very sad. Worth reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A really good book that expresses love for animals and how u can come to love them just as if theh were part of your family!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one my favorites..... the first time i read it was with my nana.... the next day she passed away. :( the book i read with her now lays on her grave in Fort Lauderdale Florida..... Great book. I definetly recommend it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book. It was really sad, but I still love it. I held back my tears when Travis shot Old Yeller. And when your 9 years old, it's really hard to do!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
But old yeller had to stay there while Travis went to get the donkey to carry him out. This Old yeller is about a boy named Travis who wants a horse but gets a dog he can hardly stand to look at sight. Description and summary of main points Introduction Old yeller willingly risks his life countless times for Travis, and they become best pals. Evaluation Most other people will say the same about this book. Conclusion I enjoyed this book and I think you will to. Your final review Old yeller is about a boy named Travis. Who wants a horse and gets a dog he can hardly stand to look at at first site his dad leaves to go out west for a little bit. They go hunting e few times and old yeller risks his life countless times for Travis. One time a bear comes around the house and old yeller saves Travis’s life. Another time they get into a fight with a boar and they both get badly cut up. book ends very sadly so do NOT read it if you don’t like sad books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a sad emotional story but i have got to say it was great.
KK7L1 More than 1 year ago
It made me cry when they had to put him down. This story make me very emotional. I give it 5 stars!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book if you love dogs. It had me crying too. Great book and also has a hood laugh! Totally reccomended!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very emotional book but i love it. Its a must read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a really sad sad book i was reading it in class and i asked to leave to go to the restroom and i started bawling! :-'( Travis had to shoot old ye . . . ller in the the HEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!! So if your really emotinal then don't read it. But it's an AWSOME BOOK I GIVE IT A 5 acuttly a double 55
cherry1 More than 1 year ago
I’ve read the book old yeller. Its about a boy named Travis and a old yeller dog. They go through a lot together old yeller is a friend to Travis since his dads been gone on the cattle drive. They go through bull fights, a she bear trying to attack little arsis and of course the hog fight. My favorite part of the book is when Travis realizes that he likes old yeller he figured that out when the she bear tried to attack little arsis. Little arsis was in there drinking water as usual. While Travis was fixing fence after the bull fight. He herd little arsis let out a horrifying scream. He took off running toward little arsis and so did his mom. From a distance Travis saw the she bear heading right for little arsis. Who was holding a bear cub which was baling like somebody was going to murder it. Then just as the bear was going to attack little arsis old yeller tore into her. Travis was great full that old yeller saved little arsis. Like most readers have said this book is full of mixed feelings. Some parts make you laugh and some parts makes you want to cry it just all depends on you. This book is great for kids eight and older and for adults as well. If I were to rate this book I would give it a five out of a five. This book is so heart taking and amazing the first few pages will make you want to read the whole thing. So I do recommend old yeller to most people it’s a great book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great book but sad ):
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So sad!!!
Obbin More than 1 year ago
Book Review Outline Book title and author: Old Yeller Fred Gipson Title of review: Great book Number of stars (1 to 5): **** Introduction When you start to read the book it is boring. But if you keep reading then it turns into a exciting book. When they find old yeller at first he has stolen the meat. Travis wants to get rid of him but momma wants to keep him for Arliss. Description and summary of main points Some main points of the book were when Arliss almost got attacked by a momma bear. And another one is when Travis and old yeller get attacked by hogs. Evaluation I felt that it was a great book and should be read by everyone. One part that I really like is when Travis's mom said "Well have to try to figure some way to keep him from prowling. Everyone in the settlement will be made at use if we don't. Conclusion You might ; at first, think the book is a boring book. But if you keep reading the book then you will change your mind. But if you don't then you don't like the book. Your final review I loved it!!!!!! ?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book but really sad. If you do not like sad books go look for some other book because u will not this one. It is about a guy who's name is Travis and his dad goes off to get cattel and he was to help his mom and little brother out around the house. Well one day they found a yellow dog in their house and kept him ( he was named old yeller because he was yellow and they said his barks sounded more like yells). He was very helpful around the house and was the father of a litter of puppies. Meanwhile a terrible case of hydraphobia ( rabbies) was going around. One day old yeller was out with Travis's mom and was attacked by a rabbid wolf. He had to be put down. :(