By Fred Gipson
My thoughts on this book:
Roughly six years has passed since the last book and Arliss is now twelve years old. Frankly, he’s sick and tired of being called “little” and just wants respect from the adults in his life. Everyone’s constantly telling Arliss that he can’t do something and he’s fed up, so when the chance arises for him to prove himself, he takes it. The settlers are dealing with a crazy horse who’s actually killed a man. They need to catch it and Arliss sees an opportunity to finally prove that he’s old enough to start doing adult tasks. He offers to try, but everyone just laughs at him which makes him even more angry. Not long after, against his father’s orders, Arliss sets out to catch the horse and successfully brings him home. He has plans to work on breaking the horse without his parents permission which is extremely dangerous.
Arliss doesn’t act his age, in fact, he’s the same annoying boy from the previous books who throws rocks at humans that upset him. He’s also very disrespectful toward adults and talks back anytime he’s angry–pretty much all the time.
Arliss hates school and would quit at the drop of a hat if he could. The adults seem way too lenient with him as well. I know parts of the book are meant to be funny and this is a work of fiction; however, I feel like it’s a challenge reading his character at times because I just want to grab him and shake some sense into him.
We did enjoy reading this book and it was such a quick read. I didn’t expect it to be this short at eighty pages or so. It was nice to learn that Travis is now married and that all the previous book characters are living well. Savage Sam was mentioned a few times, but this installment is more about Arliss and the horse. I read that the story was found by Fred Gipson’s son after his death which was unexpected. It’s wonderful that they published it because it’s a nice conclusion.
I really enjoy Fred Gipson’s writing and will likely move on to his other books.
- Grade Level: 4 – 6
- Hardcover: 83 pages
- Publisher: Harpercollins Childrens Books; 1st edition (May 1, 1978)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060220082
- ISBN-13: 978-0060220082
About 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. – Amazon
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