Marty gets to keep Shiloh! He wasn’t able to rescue all the dogs that Judd Travers mistreated, but at least Shiloh is safe . . . right?
Not necessarily, it turns out. With hunting season approaching, Judd has started drinking again, and hunting on the outskirts of Marty’s family property. What if Judd tries to take back Shiloh? What if one of Marty’s sisters gets in the way of Judd’s shotgun? It seems only a matter of time before something goes very wrong.
The thing is, Marty knows a secret about Judd that no one else does, and if anything terrible happens, he will never be able to forgive himself for keeping quiet. Is it time for Marty to speak up? And can he find the courage to do so, before someone he loves gets hurt?
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
After Shiloh come to live with us, two things happened. One started out bad and ended good. The other started out good and...Well, let me tell it the way it was.
Most everybody near Friendly, West Virginia, knows how Judd Travers treats his dogs, and how he bought this new little beagle to help him hunt, and how the beagle kept running away from Judd's kicks and curses. Ran to me.
They know the story of how I hid the dog in a pen I made for him up in our woods and named him Shiloh. Judd just calls his dogs cuss words. And everybody in Tyler County, almost, heard how a German shepherd jumped into that pen and tore up Shiloh something awful, and then the secret was out. My dad drove Shiloh over to Doc Murphy, who sewed him up and helped him live.
And then, because my friend David Howard has the biggest mouth from here to Sistersville, most everybody knows how I worked for Judd Travers two weeks to earn that dog. So now he's mine. Mine and Ma's and Dad's and Dara Lynn's and Becky's. We all just love him so's he can hardly stand it sometimes; tail wags so hard you figure it's about to fly off.
Anyway, the thing that started out bad and ended good was that I promised Doc Murphy I'd pay him every cent we owed him for fixing up Shiloh. I looked for bottles and aluminum cans the whole test of the summer, but only earned two dollars and seventy cents.
When I took it to Doc Murphy, though, so he could subtract it from our bill, he says I can work off the rest, same as I worked for Judd. Next to Judd telling me I can have Shiloh for my own, that was the best news I'd heard in a long time.
And now for the good part that turned bad and then worse: after figuring that everything's okay now between me and Judd Travers -- he even gave me a collar for Shiloh -- Judd starts drinking.
Not that he didn't drink before. Got a belly on him like a watermelon sticking out over his belt buckle, but now he's drinkin' hard.
First time I know anything about it, I'm coming up the road from Doc Murphy's, Shiloh trottin' along ahead or behind. That dog always finds something old he's got to smell twice or something new he ain't smelled at all, and his legs can hardly get him there fast enough. I think he was down in the creek while I was working at Doc's, and he's trying to make like he was with me the whole time.
I'm following along, thinking how happiness is a wet dog with a full stomach, when I hear this truck coming up the road behind me. I can tell by the sound that it's going faster than it should. My first thought, as I turn my head, is that if it don't slow down, it won't make the bend, air and then I see that it's Judd Travers's pickup.
I take this flying leap into the field, like I'm doing a belly flop in Middle Island Creek, and for a couple seconds I can't even breathe -- it's knocked the wind right out of me. I watch the truck go off the road a couple feet farther on, then weave back on again, over to the other side, and finally it starts slowing down for the bridge.
Shiloh comes running back, licks my face to see if I'm all right. The question in my mind is did Judd try to run me over or didn't he even see me, he's that drunk? And if Shiloh had been behind me instead of up front, would I be looking at a dead dog right now?
"Judd almost ran me over!" I say that night at supper.
"He what?" says Ma.
I tell my folks what happened.
"He do it on purpose?" asks Dara Lynn. Ma's fixed white beans and corn bread, with little chunks of red ham in the beans, and Dara Lynn's counting out the pieces of ham on her plate. Wants to be sure she got as many as Ma gave me.
"I don't know," I tell her.
Ma looks at Dad. "This is serious, Ray."
Dad nods. "I guess I've been hearing right, then. They say Judd's been stopping off at a bar down near Bens Run. Does his drinking nights and weekends."
Ma's anxious. "You'd best keep off the road, Marty," she says. "You, too, Dara Lynn. You hear his truck coming, give him plenty of room."
"All he's going to do is get himself arrested," I say. "Why's he start drinking so hard all of a sudden?" Even I know that when a person does that it means he's bothered.
"Maybe he's thirsty!" says Becky, and we all laugh. Becky's three. Dara Lynn laughs, too, even though it's something she might have said. Dara Lynn's seven. I'm four years older than that, and supposed to set an example for my sisters, says Ma, which is why it was so hard on my folks when they found out I'd been hiding Judd's dog up in our woods.
"I think Judd drinks because he's unhappy," says Ma. She smooths out the margarine on her piece of corn bread, then takes a real slow bite.
"Maybe he misses Shiloh," says Becky, trying again. I wish she hadn't said that.
"Why?" asks Dara Lynn. "He's got all those other dogs to keep him company."
Ma chews real thoughtful. "I think he looks in the mirror and don't like what he sees," she says. "The fact that his dog kept running away and coming to you, Marty, and the way you kept on working for Judd even though he called you a fool -- I think that made him take a good hard look at himself, and it wasn't pretty."
Becky nods her head up and down. "Judd's not pretty," she says, real serious, and we laugh again.
All this time, my dad is breaking up his corn bread over his pile of beans, and then he eats it mixed together, and I notice he's the one not laughing.
"What's worrying me is that Judd's been hunting up in our woods, I think. Rabbits, I expect. I found a beer can up there, the brand Judd drinks, and heard a couple shots yesterday, same as last weekend."
"We've got those woods posted!" Ma says, meaning we got signs up around the property saying we don't allow any hunting. But poachers sneak in there sometimes anyway. Up in our woods, and even in our meadow on the far side of the hill.
Her gray eyes are fixed on Dad now. "Ray, you've got to tell him! I don't want him up there drunk, firing his gun off every which way. One of those bullets could end up down here."
"I'll talk to him," Dad says.
I'm real quiet then. In fact, I'm through with the beans on my plate. Been thinking about taking a second helping, but suddenly I'm not hungry anymore, so I go outside and sit on the steps. It's been real warm and dry for September, and I like to catch a breeze.
Shiloh comes over and lies down beside me, head on my leg. Then he takes this big contented sigh and closes his eyes.
What my folks don't know -- what nobody knows except me and Judd Travers -- is how the only way I got Judd to let me keep his dog was that I saw him shoot a deer out of season. A doe it was, too. And when he knew I could report him to the game warden -- I would have, too -- he said I could keep Shiloh if I kept my mouth shut about the doe and if I worked for him two solid weeks. I swear Judd must have laid awake nights thinking of the hardest, meanest jobs he had for me to do, but I did 'em, every one.
So a promise is a promise, even if I shouldn't have made it in the first place. There wasn't any point in telling the secret now anyway. The doe and all traces of the killing were long gone.
I lean against the porch post and stroke the top of Shiloh's head, smooth as corn silk. Here I'd thought now that Judd and me were almost, but not quite, friends -- you couldn't be real friends with a man like Judd Travers -- I wouldn't have to worry anymore. But Ma says drink will make a person do things he never in this world thought he'd do, and you put drink in Judd Travers, you got a bomb just waiting to blow up. He might not try to run over Shiloh, or shoot him out of spite, but what if he's up in our woods hunting and Shiloh runs through? What if Judd shoots at the first thing that moves?
After supper Dad comes out, and he's carrying this beer can he found in our woods. He puts it on the front seat of the jeep, then climbs in and heads down the driveway.
I watch the jeep pause way out by the road, then turn right and go past the mill. It crosses the rusty bridge to the old Shiloh schoolhouse that's been closed as long as I can remember. After that it's out of sight and I know that in two or three minutes Dad will pull up outside the trailer where Judd Travers lives.
I listen. Yep. About two minutes later, way off in the distance, I hear all Judd's dogs barking at once, which means they hear the Jeep. All those dogs are mean as nails, 'cause the only time Judd don't keep 'em chained is when he takes 'em hunting.
I figure that about this time Judd's looking out his window, wondering who's driving up to see him at seven o'clock on a Sunday night. Then he'll get up and come to the door in his undershirt.
Dad'll walk up the boards that serve as Judd's sidewalk, and they'll stand on Judd's steps awhile, talking about the kind of weather we've been having, and are the apples going to be any good this fall, and when is the county going to fix that big pothole just this side of the bridge.
And finally, after they say all that, Dad'll show Judd the beer can and say he's sure Judd didn't mean to wander off up in our woods when he was hunting, but Dad figures the beer can is his, and he's been hearing these shots. He surely would appreciate it, he'll say, if Judd wouldn't hunt in our woods. He don't like to make a fuss, but when a man's got children, he's got to look out for them.
My mind can think up about a dozen ways Judd could answer back, none of 'em polite, but I don't let myself dwell on it. I'm running my hand over Shiloh's head real slow, and I can tell by his eyes how he likes it. If Shiloh was a cat, he'd purr.
Becky comes out to sit beside me, and pulls her dress way up to let the cool air fan her belly.
"Shouldn't do that way, Becky," I tell her. You got to start teaching her young or she'll do like that down in Sistersville sometime, not think twice about it.
"Why?" says Becky, smartlike, and pushes her face right up against mine.
"'Cause it's not ladylike to show your underpants, is why," I tell her. I figure that's how Ma would answer.
Dara Lynn's out on the porch now, still eating a handful of cornbread crumbs, and she hears what I say to Becky. I can tell by her eyes she's up to mischief. Wipes her hands on her shorts, then sticks her thumbs down inside theelastic and starts snappin' it hard as she can -- snap, snap, snap -- the elastic on her shorts and underpants both, just to rile me.
Of course Becky laughs and then she's doing it, too, both of 'em snapping away at their underpants in a wild fit of the giggles. Girl children, are the strangest people in the world sometimes.
But then I hear the Jeep coming back. Dara Lynn hears it, too, and stops bein' crazy. Finally Becky gives up and we all watch Dad's jeep -- the one he delivers his mail income across the old rusty bridge again, on up the road, then turn in at our driveway.
Ma comes out on the porch, hands resting on her hips.
"Well?" she says, as Dad gets out. "What'd he say?"
Dad don't answer for a moment. Just walks over to the house and throws the beer can in our trash barrel.
"Might be a good idea if the kids didn't play up in the woods for a while," he says.
Ma stares after him as he goes inside.
Text copyright © 1996 by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Reading Group Guide
A Reading Group Guide to
The Shiloh Trilogy
By Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
About the Trilogy
The Shiloh Trilogy by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor launched by the Newbery Award–winning novel Shiloh, takes readers straight into the heart and soul of an eleven-year-old West Virginia boy named Marty Preston. His family of five has barely enough food and room for themselves, never mind a pet. But when Marty finds an abused beagle out in the woods, he’s willing to go to almost any length to hold on to him. The story of how Marty keeps Shiloh and at the same time tries to balance his responsibilities to his family, to the dog’s troubled original owner, and, perhaps trickiest of all, to himself, unfolds in an unforgettable trilogy. Each book is richly rewarding on its own. Together they form one of the most deeply felt sagas in modern children’s literature.
1. Marty loves animals. What details does the author provide, right from the opening paragraphs of Shiloh, that make this clear to readers? What does Marty teach Judd about loving animals in Shiloh Season and Saving Shiloh?
2. “A lie don’t seem a lie anymore when it’s meant to save a dog,” Marty says in Shiloh, ”and right and wrong’s all mixed up in my head.” Discuss how Marty continues to wrestle with right and wrong in Shiloh Season and Saving Shiloh.
3. Marty feels that his choices, in Shiloh, come down to either hiding the dog and keeping it secret, or giving it back to Judd. Debate whether there are other possibilities that Marty hasn’t considered.
4. Explain Marty’s comment in Saving Shiloh, “Trying to be polite and honest at the same time is hard work.” Rate Marty on his ability to be both polite and honest.
5. Marty’s dream of becoming a vet “sort of leaks out like water in a paper bag” when his father, early in Shiloh, tells him how expensive veterinary training is. How does Marty restore his dream as the trilogy progresses? Discuss the possibilities of Marty achieving his goal.
6. “Thought once if I could just get Shiloh for my own, it would be the finest day of my life,” Marty says, after he and Shiloh’s original owner, Judd Travers, reach their agreement in Shiloh. “In a way it is, in a way it isn’t.” Why is Marty so torn?
7. The second book in the trilogy is called Shiloh Season. What does Marty mean by “Shiloh season”? How are Marty’s fears justified?
8. Marty and David Howard are allowed to roam the countryside near Marty’s house, but in Saving Shiloh, Marty’s mother won’t let Marty and his sisters go trick-or-treating. She says, “Houses too far apart for you kids to be walk- ing out on the road.” Explain her fears. Why are her fears more justified in Saving Shiloh?
9. In Shiloh Season, Marty realizes that “when you love, you got to take chances.” What are some of the chances he takes for Shiloh? Judd takes a chance for Shiloh in Saving Shiloh. What does Judd’s gesture indicate to Marty and the surrounding community?
10. Over the three novels, the author reveals more and more details about Judd Travers’s childhood. How do Marty’s feelings about Judd change as he learns more about Judd’s early years? Discuss whether your feelings toward Judd change.
11. In Saving Shiloh, Ed Sholt says, “We ought to keep Judd on the hot seat, let him know his kind wasn’t wanted around here, and maybe he’d move some- where else.” How does Judd become a hero in his neck of the woods by the end of the novel?
12. “There’s food for the body and food for the spirit,” Marty’s father says. “And Shiloh sure feeds our spirit.” Explain how Shiloh continues to feed the spirit of the Preston family in Shiloh Season and Saving Shiloh. What is the food that eventually feeds Judd’s spirit in Saving Shiloh?
13. Discuss Marty’s relationship with Dara Lynn and Becky. What is the first evidence in Saving Shiloh that Marty and Dara Lynn’s relationship is improving? How does the “near disaster” at the creek in Saving Shiloh change Marty, David, Judd, and the entire Preston family?
14. Marty’s best friend is David Howard, the only child of two professional parents. Compare and contrast David’s home with Marty’s. What are some of the material advantages that the Howards enjoy? How comfortable is David at Marty’s home? What draws the boys to each other?
15. Explain what Marty means in Saving Shiloh when he says, “Because I got Shiloh, I’m smack in the middle of Judd’s problems.”
16. Why is Judd suspicious of Marty when Marty tries to help him?
17. Cite evidence from the Shiloh novels that religion is important to the Preston family. How does Marty call upon his religious training when he is sorting out the lies that he tells?
18. What does Mr. Preston teach his children about giving someone a second chance? Discuss how many chances the Preston family gives Judd in the Shiloh trilogy. What is the Preston family’s role in helping Judd on a journey of self-discovery? What does Judd learn about giving and receiving in the three Shiloh novels?
19. An epiphany is a term that refers to a point of awakening for one or more characters in a novel. What is Judd Travers’ epiphany in Saving Shiloh? How do Marty and David Howard realize that Judd has changed?
Activities and Research
1. The Shiloh trilogy is set in and around real places in West Virginia. Find a map of Tyler County, West Virginia, on the Internet. Identify the towns mentioned in the novels.
2. In Appalachia where the Shiloh books are set, there is a relationship between the land and the people. Discuss how the land shapes the people. How do the people shape the land? Write a brochure for the Tyler County Welcome Center that explains this to outsiders who want to better understand the area and its people. Include a map of Tyler County on the brochure.
3. In Shiloh, Marty’s teacher, and David Howard’s mother, encourages Marty to work on his grammar. Select a paragraph from Shiloh and write it in Standard English. How does changing the language affect the tone of the novel, and the sense of place?
4. Judd Travers violates hunting laws. Why are his actions so dangerous to the community at large? Learn about the hunting laws in your area. Find out if there have been violations of or significant controversies about them.
5. “You’ve got to go by the law,” Marty’s father says. “You don’t agree by the law, then you work to change it.” Research the ways that citizens in your community have worked to change a law with which they disagreed.
6. Marty’s class is assigned to write about how they imagine their future. Prepare this assignment for Marty. How does he imagine his future? How much education will he need? Where will he live?
7. Invite a representative from your local SPCA to talk about animal abuse. What are the warning signs of abuse? How should you report it?
8. “Truth,” Marty decides in Shiloh Season, “is more important, but gossip is more interesting.” Discuss how David Howard’s case against Judd Travers in Saving Shiloh is based on gossip and a wild imagination. The community also suspects Judd of the murder. Write a letter to the editor of the newspaper accusing Judd of the crime.
9. In Saving Shiloh, the Prestons invite Judd Travers to Thanksgiving lunch. Role-play a family conversation that takes place at the end of the day. What, for example, would Marty, Dara Lynn, and Becky say to their parents about their guest? How might Mr. and Mrs. Preston respond to their children?
10. David Howard’s dad works for the Tyler Star-News. Find out the role of a good journalist. Then write the story about Judd saving Shiloh for Mr. Howard’s newspaper. Provide quotes from Judd, Marty, and David Howard. Give the article an appropriate title.
11. Marty’s father had faith in Judd Travers, even when other people didn’t. Write an essay about the changes that occur within Judd Travers from the beginning of Shiloh to the end of Saving Shiloh.
Read—Watch—Write: Exploring the Film Versions
1. A book has been written; a movie has been made. The next step is for reviewers to make thoughtful comparisons of the movie to the book. Put yourself in the role of a reviewer. First read one of the Shiloh books, then watch the DVD, and finally, write a review. Carefully think through the challenges of putting a book on the screen, considering both the advantages and disadvantages of each medium. Remember that a review should include a concise summary, your opinion of the work, clear evidence to support your opinion, and a short conclusion.
2. Anytime a novel is made into a film, there is a question as to which is better. Why is it important to read a novel before seeing the film adaptation? Discuss the difference in a film narrative and a novel narrative.
3. Read Shiloh, Shiloh Season, and Saving Shiloh before you watch the films. How do you mentally picture the main characters? After watching the films, write a brief paper that compares your mental image of one of the main characters (e.g. Marty, David Howard, Judd Travers, etc.) to the way they are portrayed on the screen.
4. Consider the dialect that is indicative of the Appalachia people. The reader knows that Marty is working to improve his grammar. How are dialect and grammar different? Note any inconsistencies in language in the book and the movie. Who is the most authentic character in the movie?
5. Appalachia is a unique region of the United States. Write down what you learned about the geography and the culture of this region from Naylor’s Shiloh novels. While viewing the film, jot down the way this region is conveyed. Are the films true to the people and how they live?
6. Marty experiences various emotions throughout the Shiloh novels. For example, he feels anger, fear, happiness, and sadness. Find a scene in one or all of the novels where Marty shows these emotions. How does he display the same emotions in the film versions of the novels? Is it in dialogue? Body language? Try your hand at acting. Pick an emotional scene in one of the novels and prepare it as a monologue.
7. The films are largely faithful to the novels’ plots, but there were some changes made. What were some of the most significant ones? Why do you think the changes were made? If you could change one thing about the movie Saving Shiloh, what would it be?
8. Be a casting director. Choosing from children and adults in your school or neighborhood, who would you pick for the major roles in the films? How about the dog? What kind of training would the dog need to play the role?
9. Filmmakers use dialogue to tell a story, but they also have other tools at their disposal. Pay special attention to scenes that feature little or no dialogue. Discuss how the filmmakers use music or visual images to set a tone or mood, or to advance the plot. For example, the suspense of the scene where Marty and David are exploring the old farmhouse or the final scene when Judd jumps in the water to save Shiloh.
10. Typically, stunt men and women are used in film when a specific scene places the actor in a dangerous position. Make note of scenes where you think stunt artists were used. Explain your thoughts.
11. Phyllis Reynolds Naylor wrote the Shiloh trilogy alone, but each of the films credits a long list of people, in addition to the actors, who worked on the project. Find out more about these various behind-the-camera jobs. What, for example, are the responsibilities of a director, a producer, or a cinematographer?
12. Analysis, opinion, and evaluation are three common types of nonfiction writing. Brainstorm the differences in these types of writing. After viewing one of the Shiloh films, write an analysis, opinion, or evaluation of the film.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This was a very well written book. It was very sad at the end. Shiloh Season was an interesting book. Sometimes i didnt want to put the book down, i just had to keep reading.
I really liked this book and if you think it's just about a dog it's not. If you like books about dogs and family this is the book for you. I recommend this book to fourth graders to eighth graders.
In this book Marty must deal with the notoreous Jud Travers Once again. because Judd has still got a grudge. How Marty does this, makes for another interseting story for kids who love books with animals.
In SHILOH SEASON Judd Travers was the previous owner of Shiloh ,Marty Preston worked for Judd two toearn Shiloh.Although Judd let Marty have Shiloh, Judd is still holding a grudge.Then one night when Judd was drinking he
I thought this book was very interesting. I would recommend this book to children ages 10 and up. Shiloh Season kept my attention and left me feeling as though I had just experienced the same adventure. This book has an exciting plot and holds your interst throughout the whole book. I enjoyed this book very much.
THIS IS AN OUTSANDING BOOK BECAUSE OF ITS AWSOME STORYLINE AND EXCELLENT PERSPECTIVE.
Cannot wait to read the book!
It is an amazing book. I like how it starts out where the last book, Shiloh, stopped.
I purchased the first book Shiloh in February 2014 as a gift to my 7yo son. He loved it so much that I got him the next book in August 2014 for his birthday. He's reading it and loving it. I can't get him to put it down. Very captivating and well written. Absolutely recommend if you have an young reader who loves dogs.
It is awesome
Hey guys my fans. Shiloh season is a grat book but you should read Ann Frank's diary, or read the tots phenomenal movie.
I read this in school and loved it. It made me cry so much. I love the friendship between the boy and his dog.
Shiloh seasons is the best book for dog lovers and picky book readers. I give this book a recommended because it warms your soul.
I only read the first shiloh
I read a book called Shiloh it was a good book. It was a book a bout a boy and a dog a hunting dog. The boy found the dog the dog it ran away from Jed. He was a man in the book and he was mean to the dogs and it ran away and Marty work for the dog to get it.
I liked this book, I have read all of the Shiloh book's I liked this one the best.
I am reading this with my class at school! It's awesome!