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Copyright 1999

Created by Brian Thornton

Click here for more information Capo Creations, Box 1411, Haileybury, Ontario, CANADA. POJ 1KO

Not to be used or copied in any manner without specific written consent of the publisher All Rights Reserved

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Where the Red Fern Grows

Wilson Rawls

Student Study Guide


Answer all questions in sentence form

Chapter One

  1. Why, according to the man, was it a rare day?
  2. Describe the scene in which the dogs are fighting.
  3. Why did the man believe that the dog belonged in the country?
  4. How did the man help the dog?
  5. Describe the two cups on the mantel.
  6. Design a title page for your student study guide.

Vocabulary: residential, scalded, cur, crude, priceless, caressed.

Enrichment: Locate the following in an atlas: Ozark Mountains, Missouri and Oklahoma.


Chapter Two

  1. What "terrible disease" was he infected with when only ten years old?
  2. How did Billy's Papa "pour cold water" on his idea?
  3. Why was Billy's mother allotted a strip of land along the Illinois River?
  4. What did Billy's father do for a living?
  5. What animal tracks along the river bank, fascinated Billy the most?
  6. List at least five animals that Billy catches in his traps.
  7. How was Papa going to put the muscles back on Billy?

Vocabulary: sycamores, game, waddling, corncrib, grieve, bawling, muzzle.

Enrichment: Find information on trapping animals. Who traps animals today? What do they do with the captured animals? Who are animal rights activists and why are they opposed to trapping animals?


Chapter Three

  1. Why does Billy hurry to the deserted campground?
  2. What does he discover in the sportsman's magazine?
  3. Describe how Billy hoped to earn enough money to buy some pups.
  4. Why does Billy ask his grandfather not to say anything to his father about his plan?
  5. How long does it take the young boy to save enough money?
  6. How many sisters does Billy have?

Vocabulary: festered, prowl, haunches, quavering, kennels, horehound.

Enrichment: Trace the Illinois River as it flows through Northeast Oklahoma. What other states does it flow through?


Chapter Four

  1. What good news does Billy receive about the price of the dogs?
  2. Why did Billy have to go to Tahlequah?
  3. Why does Billy ask how far it is to Kentucky?
  4. What was the population of Tahlequah?
  5. How do we know that Billy is very poor?
  6. Describe some of the things that surprise Billy when he arrives in town.

Vocabulary: depot, gunny sack, riffle, briers, bolts.

Enrichment: Research the life of a racoon. Why did people hunt racoons?


Chapter Five

  1. Who is telling the story?
  2. How did Billy plan on carrying the puppies?
  3. How do we know that the stationmaster is a kind man?
  4. Describe the fight Billy has with the gang of boys.
  5. Why is Billy surprised at the behaviour of the marshal?
  6. What does Billy do when he hears the mountain lion?
  7. Why do Billy's pups give him courage?

Vocabulary: splintered, snickered, glaring, ooze, gritted, anvil, provisions.

Enrichment: Write a short biography on the author, Wilson Rawls.


Chapter Six

  1. Describe how Billy decides to name his dogs.
  2. How did Billy's father already know where he had been?
  3. Why did Mama and Papa want to move into town?
  4. Why did they have to wait?

Vocabulary: romping, nestled, trance, querying.

Enrichment: What is the longest distance you have ever walked? Do you think you would have been afraid to camp out overnight? How would you have reacted to a mountain lion?


Chapter Seven

  1. Why does Billy's grandfather need a brace and bit to catch the racoon?
  2. Why does Billy think Grandpa is joking?
  3. According to Papa, why is Billy unable to catch any coons?
  4. Why does Billy desperately need a coon skin for his pups?
  5. Why is Papa surprised when they finally free the coon's paw from the hole?
  6. Describe how Billy Colman trains his hounds.

Vocabulary: obstacle, wiley, eternity, woe, forefinger, diameter, churn, pry, scent, frazzle.

Enrichment: Research animal trainers. Why do people train animals? Describe the many ways that trained animals can benefit us.


Chapter Eight

  1. How did Billy prepare for his first hunt?
  2. What do Billy's parents think about him going hunting?
  3. Why is it necessary for Billy to hunt at night?
  4. Why does Billy groan and close his eyes when he sees where the coon has been treed?
  5. Why is Billy so determined to cut down the tree?

Vocabulary: lard, grinding, wobbling, rustle, elders, domain.

Enrichment: What does the term nocturnal mean? Make a list of nocturnal animals in your area. Choose one and do some research on it.


Chapter Nine

  1. Why was Billy crying?
  2. What plan of action does Grandpa suggest?
  3. Why does Grandpa pick up Old Dan and place him in the buggy?
  4. What does Grandpa think about young boys chopping down such large trees?
  5. Find the New England States in an atlas.
  6. What fad has started back in the New England states?
  7. Describe what happens when Billy is wrapping his hands to make a final attack on the tree.
  8. What is it that Billy is firmly convinced of at the conclusion of the chapter?

Vocabulary: throbbed, dumplings, civet cat, winced.

Enrichment: Research the history of the New England states. What were most of them called originally?


Chapter Ten

  1. What did Billy's mother do with the first coon hide?
  2. Which dog did Billy think was smarter?
  3. What happened to the price of coonskins?
  4. Describe what happened to Old Dan and how Billy managed to rescue him.

Vocabulary: spellbound, belligerent, stunted, peroxide, slough, feat.

Enrichment: Describe a pet that you have owned. What makes pets so special to people? What type of animals make good pets?


Chapter Eleven

  1. Why did Billy think that the hunting would be good that night?
  2. Why was Billy unable to see his dogs?
  3. What has happened to the dogs?
  4. Describe the scene in which Billy rescues his dogs.
  5. At the end of the chapter, why does Billy keep checking the handle on his lantern?

Vocabulary: predicament, rile, ceased, eddy, trough, stomped.

Enrichment: Research hypothermia.


Chapter Twelve

  1. What is meant by the expression, "shell corn"?
  2. Describe the Pritchard family.
  3. What bet do the Pritchard boys make with Billy?
  4. Why was Grandpa unhappy with the Pritchard boys?
  5. Describe the ghost coon.

Vocabulary: pelts, wattle, sidled, leering, maneuver.

Enrichment: Research the history of mills. Did they have mills in ancient times? Do you know anyone with the surname Miller or Millar? Where did these names originate?


Chapter Thirteen

  1. According to Rubin, who had lived there a long time ago and farmed the fields?
  2. Why does Billy give Rubin the two dollars?
  3. Where is Little Ann finally able to locate the ghost coon?
  4. Describe the horrible scene that Billy is confronted with after breaking up the fight.
  5. How does Billy pay his respects?

Vocabulary: resistance, switch, account, clambered, protruding.

Enrichment: What reason might the author have had for having the dogs fight?


Chapter Fourteen

  1. Why does Grandpa blame himself for Rubin's death?
  2. How does Billy feel about entering the championship coon hunt?
  3. Why does Billy think he is the luckiest boy in the world?
  4. What comment does Billy make that indicates he is confident about his chances of winning?
  5. According to Billy, what's the one thing wrong with Little Ann?

Vocabulary: tragedy, zipped, stubble, quivered, blurted, droning, bashful, codger.

Enrichment: Research the Cherokee Indians.  What land rights do modern native people have?


Chapter Fifteen

  1. Why did Grandpa have an astonished look on his face?
  2. Explain the superstition about hearing the owl.
  3. Why was Billy having so much difficulty sleeping?
  4. Describe how Billy groomed his dog?
  5. Why was he awarded a small silver cup?
  6. Why did Billy crawl under the buggy?

Vocabulary: mush, dutch-oven, monotonous, jinx, mares, buggy, pruned.

Enrichment: Are you superstitious? Do you know someone who is? Why might people be superstitious? Do you have a favourite number?


Chapter Sixteen

  1. Why did the contestants decide to move a few miles downstream?
  2. What is meant by "strike a trail"?
  3. Why did Grandpa try to put his britches on backwards?
  4. Why did Papa tell Billy about the two mules?
  5. Explain how the two dogs doctored one another.

Vocabulary: bawl, gingerly, discouraging, flitted, elimination.

Enrichment: Grandpa and Papa obviously respected Billy. How can we tell when parents respect their children? What type of things do you do to let your friends and family know that you respect them?


Chapter Seventeen

  1. How do we know that Billy is a brave and determined boy?
  2. What did the judge say to indicate that he thought it would be wise to give up the hunt?
  3. Describe what happened to Grandpa.
  4. How did Billy warm Grandpa's injured foot?

Vocabulary: rhythmic, mackinaw, lull, baying, canebrake, loomed, gawking.

Enrichment: Describe the worst storm that you have ever experienced? Did you ever feel that your life was in danger?


Chapter Eighteen

  1. Why were the limbs on the trees snapping?
  2. Who came searching for them?
  3. What did Mr. Benson say that shocked Billy?
  4. Why did Billy decide to take the cup home?
  5. Why did Mama press her lips together tightly?

Vocabulary: haggard, engraving, stock, pane.

Enrichment: Mr. Kyle thinks that dogs are more than just loyal. He believes that they help their masters out of love. Do you agree? Explain.


Chapter Nineteen

  1. Why doesn't Billy like hunting bobcats?
  2. What is the devil cat of the Ozarks?
  3. How does Billy finally kill the big cat?
  4. How would you have felt in this situation?
  5. How did the dogs prove their loyalty to Billy?
  6. What does Billy discover when he examines the dogs after the fierce battle?
  7. Do you think it is possible for animals to die from a broken heart? What about people?

Vocabulary: predatory, foliage, berserk, jugular, trance, ghastly, canyon, cleaved, pry, entrails.

Enrichment: The mountain lion is also called a puma or cougar. Research this cat and find out if it is an endangered species.


Chapter Twenty

  1. What does Billy mean when he says, "Papa…didn't have that whipped look on his face anymore"?
  2. What does Billy see when he goes to say goodbye to his dogs?
  3. Briefly retell the story of the Indian legend.
  4. Are you surprised when Billy says that he has never been back to the Ozarks? Why?

Vocabulary: mounds, arches, sacred, legend, spiral, caress.

Enrichment: Read some other Indian legends? Write your own Indian legend and illustrate it. Share it with your classmates.


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Copyright 1999

Created by Brian Thornton, Capo Creations, Box 1411, Haileybury, Ontario, CANADA. POJ 1KO

Not to be used or copied in any manner without specific written consent of the publisher All Rights Reserved