James Arthur Kjelgaard imbued each of his many books for children with his two great loves: nature and dogs. Although born in New York City, he spent his childhood living on farms located in the Allegheny Mountain Range that runs through the state of Pennsylvania. Combining his personal experiences of the wild country he know as a boy with the animals he came to know and love, Kjelgaard wrote many popular animal stories for children before his untimely death at the age of forty-eight. As a young man, Kjelgaard held various jobs--trapper, laborer, and surveyor’s assistant--but in 1938, at age twenty-eight, he decided to focus his energies on writing stories for children. He began setting down his own recollections of the woodland regions of North American and from there fashioned stories featuring colorful, enigmatic characters long with, of course, dogs. "Story hunts have led me from the Atlantic to the Pacific,
and from the Arctic Circle to Mexico City," Kjelgaard
once wrote in Young Wings. "Stories, like gold, are where
you find them. You may discover one three thousand miles from home or . . . right on your own doorstep." Kjelgaard’s "story hunts" yielded a wealth of colorful
tales which continue to bring his great love of both the wilderness and his many canine friends to life for young readers.
Contemporary Authors Gale