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Last updated Thursday, December 12, 2013

Author: Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Date of Publication:
ISBN: 0689316143
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Dec. 2013

When Marty Preston comes across a young beagle in the hills behind his home, it's love at first sight -- and also big trouble. It turns out the dog, which Marty names Shiloh, belongs to Judd Travers, who drinks too much and has a gun -- and abuses his dogs. So when Shiloh runs away from Judd to Marty, Marty just has to hide him and protect him from Judd. But Marty's secret becomes too big for him to keep to himself, and it exposes his entire family to Judd's anger. How far will Marty have to go to make Shiloh his?

Note to readers:
•  This story takes place in West Virginia and is written in the dialect of the region (i.e. Appalachia). There might be unfamiliar words or expressions and grammar that is intentionally incorrect.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Who is Shiloh?
•  How many of you like to read about animals (or animal stories)?
•  What kind of dog is on the cover?
•  Do you see the gold medal on the book? It's called the John Newbery Medal and it's awarded to the best book every year for readers 9 and up.

•  buckshot (p 11) - lead shot of large size used in shotgun shells, esp for hunting game
•  .22 rifle (p 12) - a specific caliber of firearm (pistol or rifle)
•  rattly (p 13) - Rattling or likely to rattle; clattering.
•  groveling (p 13) - To behave in a servile or demeaning manner; cringe.
•  ford (p 15) - A shallow place in a body of water, such as a river, where one can cross by walking.
•  out of season - not in a proper season or time to hunt
•  gristmill (p 24) - A mill for grinding grain.
•  sickle (p 34) - An implement having a semicircular blade attached to a short handle, used for cutting grain or tall grass.
•  game warden (p 38) - An official in charge of managing game animals or wildlife, especially by the enforcement of game laws.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Where is West Virginia?
•  Why do you think Shiloh was so skittish? Why did he respond to whistling?
•  How much money do you think Marty will have to earn to buy Shiloh?
•  What other ways can Marty raise money?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw or make a cut-out dog house for Shiloh.
•  Draw how you imagine West Virginia looks, based on the descriptions in the book.
•  Make ornaments with colorful paper &/or yarn.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!