Danny has lived in the woods of the Wintapi and hunted with his father for as long as he can remember. His knowledge of the region and its animals enables him to help the wealthy Mr. Haggin track his lost cattle. When Mr. Haggin asks Danny to train his prize winning dog Red, Danny is elated. Even if he could never afford to own such a dog, he knows he will certainly enjoy working with him. Danny soon discovers, however, that Red is the only dog smart enough and brave enough to track Old Majesty, the bear that has been raiding the region’s ranches. How can he keep a born hunting dog from following its instincts just to keep his appearance pristine for dog shows?
Kjelgaard’s classic story is sure to enchant readers. Danny and Red become best friends, understanding each other as only a boy and his dog can. In the process of training Red, Danny learns what it means to take responsibility and to negotiate the twists and turns inevitable in growing independent from one’s parents. In spite of his love for Red, Danny never forgets that Mr. Haggin is the dog’s true owner. His respect for Mr. Haggin, his own father and his beloved Red lead him to make prudent, though difficult decisions. Fortunately for dog lovers, the book ends on a happy, but not too sugary note.
Jennifer Minicus is a mother and teacher currently living in Ridgewood, NJ.