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by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
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A beautiful animal themed story about a dog and a human that wants to love him. Shiloh is loving, caring dog that came from a drunk, abusive 1st home. Marty is the main human character looking, and willing to give Shiloh the loving life he longs to have. Both characters have qualities that will fill the gaps that are missing.
This is one of the better Newbery books.
I read this book with a group of 3rd and 4th graders at my school. We talked a lot about ¨good¨ and ¨bad¨ lies and deeds. Shiloh is an excellent book to use when you want to discuss feelings and morality with children. It is too bad that the story was made into a movie, because now many children will miss out on the subtleties of the book. I am glad that many teachers read the book with their class.
Eleven-year-old Marty would love to have a dog, but knows that his family - who aren't poor, exactly, but don't have much extra - can't really afford to feed one. But when a hunting beagle runs away from its mean master, Marty decides to sneak a bit and keep the dog, whom he names Shiloh, anyway.
This is definitely the kind of book that works better for a child reader who isn't as familiar with tropes as an adult will be. So while I found the storyline pretty predictable (and, as I'm now older than them, I generally sided with the parents), it was a nice, nostalgic sort of story told by an eleven-year-old boy who is still idealistic and can't understand a world where a mean owner could be allowed to keep a dog. The mean guy, Judd Travers, isn't a cookie-cutter evil guy, either, as Marty discovers as he learns more about him.
When Marty finds a lost beagle he tries to hide it from his family and the dog's mean-spirited owner.
Book Summary-Shiloh is a story about an eleven year old boy named Marty and a beagle named Shiloh. Marty and Shiloh become best friends but there is one problem. Shiloh does not belong to Marty, he belongs to a mean man named Judd Travers. This particular summer Shiloh becomes very attached to Marty. Marty learns that Judd abuses his animals. Marty has to decide whether he should send Shiloh back to Judd Travers to be abused or keep him and treat him like a member of his own family. This compelling story shows the reader how Marty tranforms from a little boy to a young man.
Content Summary- Realistic fiction, sorrow, truth, compassion, and growing up
Kathie Cerra (The Five Owls, January/February 1992 (Vol. 6, No. 3))
Among the many fine qualities of this novel for the middle grades is the multilevel conflict that drives the plot. Marty Preston, eleven years old, lives a good but frugal life with his family in the hills of West Virginia. He has always wanted a dog, but the family could never afford to feed one. The seeds of the outer conflict emerge early in the story, when Marty comes upon a beagle in the woods. The dog is owned and mistreated by a cruel neighbor, Judd, who keeps beagles for hunting. Although Marty's father makes Marty return the dog to Judd, the beagle seeks out Marty a second time. Marty decides secretly to keep the dog, naming him Shiloh. The outer conflict hinges around Marty's efforts to keep Shiloh hidden, fed, and cared for without the knowledge of his family or of Judd. The inner conflict, which heightens suspense, centers around the several aspects of Marty's moral dilemma. Marty feels guilty about lying to his kind and loving parents, yet he knows that his father would make him return Shiloh to the rightful owner. He ponders whether keeping a dog that belongs to someone else is justified when the owner mistreats the dog. As the story unfolds, aspects of the outer conflict change. But it is Marty's love for Shiloh that continues to inform his actions. If, as John Gardner tells us in The Art of Fiction, vivid detail is the life blood of fiction, then Shiloh teems with life. It is the detail in Marty's first-person narrative that allows the reader to share his experience and feeling. Marty tells us what it feels like to first hold the squirming Shiloh, and he tells us how it feels to lie to his loving parents. We know Marty's perceptions through vivid sensory detail, and we participate in his inner life of thought and feeling. The style of this book convincingly reflects regional speech and is spare and inviting. Marty's hard work and courage and honesty bring about the resolution of the inner and outer conflicts that he faces.
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Wikipedia in English (2)
When he finds a lost beagle in the hills behind his West Virginia home, Marty tries to hide it from his family and the dog's real owner, a mean-spirited man known to shoot deer out of season and to mistreat his dogs.
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