Old Yeller

( 405 )

Overview

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 eloquently simple story of a boy and his dog in the Texas hill country is an unforgettable and deeply moving experience.

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Old Yeller

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Overview

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 eloquently simple story of a boy and his dog in the Texas hill country is an unforgettable and deeply moving experience.

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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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060935474
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/28/2001
  • Series: Perennial Classics Series
  • Edition description: 1ST PERENN
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 244,852
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

With Old Yeller,Fred Gipson secured his place as one of the finest novelists in America. The book was published to instant acclaim and has become one of the most beloved children's classics ever written. Since its publication in 1956, Old Yeller has won countless awards, including the 1957 Newbery Honor. Mr. Gipson's other works include both fiction and non-fiction. He grew up in the Texas hill country and died in 1973.

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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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First Chapter

Old Yeller

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 and children 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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 405 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(295)

4 Star

(51)

3 Star

(23)

2 Star

(13)

1 Star

(23)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 408 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2011

    Check it out!

    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

    32 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2012

    Classic

    This is a very good book thats about love and friendship i love it one of my favorites ever

    17 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2010

    Old Yeller

    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.

    15 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2012

    Sad but good

    Sad!

    13 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2012

    Feb 11 2012

    I just love this book! It is sad that they have to put him down.
    :( I do recommed this book.

    9 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2012

    Great book

    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.

    7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2012

    Sad but i love it

    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.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2012

    Read it. Right now.

    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

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2012

    Old Yeller is a story of hope, adventure, and heart.

    “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.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2012

    Old yeller rocks!

    This book is a sad emotional story but i have got to say it was great.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2012

    Thise book is awsome but sad too i just got on page10

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2012

    The Good Book

    It was a good book but itbwas sad. But made a goodblife point and it made alot of ppl cry

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2012

    So sad but so good

    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.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2012

    Sad ):

    A great book but sad ):

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2012

    Old Yeller

    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!!!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2012

    Love it

    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!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2012

    Luv it!!

    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!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2012

    Sad

    So sad!!!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 10, 2011

    O Yes I LOVEEEEE IT <3333

    It made me cry when they had to put him down. This story make me very emotional. I give it 5 stars!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2013

    Really heart warming book

    This is a great book if you love dogs. It had me crying too. Great book and also has a hood laugh! Totally reccomended!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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