What I’m Reading: Stone Fox

One of the girls that comes after school and I were chatting. She’s in 3rd grade and her teacher reads to them each day. It’s just a chapter or two…not a lot but that adds up. I asked her what they were reading. She said they just finished up a book about a dog and it was sad in the end.

I immediately guessed Old Yeller. She said no but that they were going to read that one soon. I guessed a few other dog books…
The Incredible Journey- No
Marley and Me- No
Big Red- No
Shiloh- No-they had read that one already
Because of Winn Dixies- No
Sounder- No
White Fang- No
Call of the Wind- No

Then I was sure I had it…Where the Red Fern Grows- No

Well I was completely at a loss. I couldn’t think of a single other classic dog book. Well maybe it’s a more modern book.

She started telling me there was an Indian and a Grandpa. Well…Tom Sawyer. No that was an Aunt. Boy. I just could not come up with a book. I ended up going on Google and typed in dog books for elementary kids.

That’s when we finally figured out the book. It was called Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner. Odd. I hadn’t heard of that book.

I thought that was really odd. I took children’s literature classes in college and we read TONS of books. We would be assigned books like this and have to have them read the next day and be ready to discuss them. Odd I hadn’t heard of this one. Then I looked at the cover. It says 30th anniversary edition. Oh my. 30 years ago I was a mom with four kids and pregnant with my fifth. Of course I hadn’t heard of it. HA!

My time flies when you’re having kids…and grandkids.

My after school girl said to me, “Oh Jo, are you going to read it? The books is sooo good.” Well what’s a girl to do but read the book. So I went on Hoopla my online library and they had the book in audio book format. I downloaded it and listened to it in just over a hour or so.

What did I think?? I liked it. I can see why she liked it.

Being I listened to audio format I do want to say this…I wish the reader would have been more animated. Someone in the book is sick…when he talks, the narrators voice doesn’t sound sick. In kids books, I really like a more animated voice.

Based on a Rocky Mountain legend, Stone Fox tells the story of Little Willy, who lives with his grandfather in Wyoming. When Grandfather falls ill, he is no longer able to work the farm, which is in danger of foreclosure. Little Willy is determined to win the National Dogsled Race—the prize money would save the farm and his grandfather. But he isn’t the only one who desperately wants to win. Willy and his brave dog Searchlight must face off against experienced racers, including a Native American man named Stone Fox, who has never lost a race.

Exciting and heartwarming, this novel has sold millions of copies and was named a New York Times Outstanding Children’s Book.

Amazon readers gave the book 4.7 stars. I’m putting on my children’s literature hat and judging the book in that light and not in an adult book light. As a children’s book I’d also give it 4.7 stars. I really liked it. The book would be a nice one to read aloud to kids.

You can find the book HERE if you are interested.

Mary Etherington if you’re reading this book review. Don’t read this book. You said you can’t handle a book where animals die.

7 thoughts on “What I’m Reading: Stone Fox”

  1. A Dog’s Life by Ann M. Martin is another really good book. I bought it when I was teaching since it is written in the dog’s voice which I thought was good for point of view. The dog on the cover looks to be a Border Collie. We had a Border Collie at the time and thought it sounded interesting. I really enjoyed it. I loved all of those books that you listed. I just have a thing for dogs. You’re too young for Lassie, but when I was young, Lassie was on TV every Sunday night.

  2. Hi Jo, Thanks for the suggestion “Stone Fox” which is new to me. Did you read “Balto”…our then young grandson introduced the book to me. Balto even has a statue in Central Park, NYC. He also introduced me to “The Sarah, Plain and Tall” books/series. Our sons liked “Where the Red Fern Grows” and I did too. On the farm we had a collie dog, so the Lassie tv show was fun to watch. As your blog reader Ginger mentioned.

  3. Dear Jo, I too love dog books. A series that my 5& 6 grade children read was Hank the Cow Dog. The story is from Hank’s view point and he is the security of the ranch. We laughed out loud. There used to be cassette tapes which we listened to in the car on trips. Hank has a statue in a park in downtown San Angelo,TX. Enjoy. Helen

  4. I need to mention an amazing dog “Skidboot” we would see at the State Fair of Texas. He was a blue heeler and performed in one of the arenas. Skidboot had quite a following of fans. There is a book and videos on the dog. He appeared on Texas Country Reporter. Yes, I agree Hank the Cow Dog was a good read. My sister lived in the Panhandle of Texas and gifted me with that book.

  5. I retired from teaching 8 years ago. My last 8 years or so were in third grade. I read chapter books to my class after recess while they did their handwriting. Stone Fox and Balto were two favorites. We did a unit on the Iditarod during the race calculating miles and each student following an Iditarod racer. Geography, math, language arts, art, and science all included. The kids would beg me to read “just one more chapter.”

  6. I homeschooled for just over 20 years. Sonlight Curriculum has great reading lists. You can get their catalog, or look at it online to just get the list of books. Stone Fox was one my kids read in 1st or 2nd grade from that list.

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