Outlaw Red–see that cover? And dig the 35-cent price. This book was one of my prized possessions when I was 11 or 12 years old; and its author, Jim Kjelgaard (died 1959), was one of my very favorite storytellers.
I say “storyteller” instead of “writer” because that’s what Kjelgaard was, a pure storyteller. He immersed you in his story. You could read the book again and again, and its spell would never fade.
What kind of stories did he tell? Adventure! Discovery! A lot of stories about dogs, with the dog as the protagonist. In Outlaw Red, we follow a prize-winning Irish setter, separated from the humans who coddled him, to see if he can survive in the wilderness. His name is Sean–which, of course, I read as “Seen” and wondered why anybody would give such a funny name to a dog. There’s also a brave boy in the story.
Another major Kjelgaard favorite of mine was Fire Hunter, about the adventures of a boy in distant prehistoric times, who gets separated from his people and has to learn a lot of important survival lessons in a hurry.
Today we have Young Readers fiction about drugs, aberrant sex, superstition, self-mutilation–really, enough to make you puke. It’s what liberal loons in the publishing business think kids want to read about. The best 20 of ’em aren’t worth Jim Kjelgaard on his worst day.
Thanks to amazon.com and other online book vendors, Jim’s books are again available to you, your children, and your grandchildren. Believe me when I tell you that they’re absolutely wonderful!