Danger and adventure await as the "ugly mutt" proves his courage--and D.J. learns an important lession about judging other people.
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enjoyable and exciting story by favorite author for boys Thirteen-year-old David Jonathan (D. J.) Dillon lives on a small farm in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, about ten miles from the town of Stoney Ridge, with his father Sam and grandfather Caleb. His dad is a choke-setter for the timber industry, and his mom was killed in an auto accident six months before the story takes place. D. J.’s father had never been very religious, and after his mother’s death D. J. pretty much gives up on God. Now, there’s an outlaw bear roaming around the countryside and killing some of their livestock. D. J. is lonely and wants a collie more than anything else to serve as a companion and playmate, but Mr. Dillon buys some hunting hounds to track down the bear and gives D. J. an ugly mixed mutt reported to be a hair-pulling bear dog which he obtained in the bargain instead. Grandpa doesn’t think much of the mutt and names it Zero, which seems prophetic since on their first bear hunt the little dog runs away scared and, in fact, causes D. J.’s father to get injured. When D. J. is joined by the new preacher in town, Paul Stagg, to look for the outlaw bear, what will the hair-pulling dog do? Will it help D. J. and Paul or put them in danger? Lee Roddy has become one of my favorite authors for boys. The story of The Hair-Pulling Bear Dog is enjoyable, the plot is exciting, and the characters are good and seem real. The book is even educational in that the “Life in Stoney Ridge” section in the back contains a glossary to explain various starred terms in the text. In addition, D.J. learns an important life-lesson about judging people. There is a note, “Since this story was written, laws have changed. It is now illegal for hunters to do some of the things described in this book.” There are nine more novels in the series, and other series by Roddy include The Ladd Family Adventures; An American Adventure, and Between Two Flags.