Wednesday, February 7, 2007


Toben took the kids out for magazines at B&N and ice cream at Cold Stone, so I headed to the bathtub with a book--Shiloh, by Phllis Reynolds Naylor. This book won the Newbery in 1992.

I think I'd seen the movie based on the book, but hadn't read the book before. I knew it would be sad, and had a little knot in my stomach for much of it, because I couldn't quite remember how the story ended. I won't give it away, since you should read it for yourself!

What a great book. I finished it and thought I'd love to read it to my girls and talk about it with them because it raises some good and hard questions. When is it okay to keep a secret? Is it ever alright to lie? What do you do when what is right and what is legal aren't the same things? What does it mean to stand by your word? Can we change how other people act?

There's something about a boy and a dog...and this story tugs at your heart.

I did read the afterword first--my copy of the book has "The Story Behind the Book" at the end, complete with pictures. I always love hearing how an author came up with the idea for the novel. In this case, there is a real Shiloh (named Clover) who really did follow someone home. The rest of the story is imagined on the author's part, but both Clover and Shiloh have good endings.

By the way, the dog in this case is a beagle. And since my little beagle, Daisy, is curled up at my feet at the moment, I'd better mention that she recommends the book too!


Julie said...

Oh no! I might have to skip this one. Boy/dog stories by definition turn me into a puddle, even if they end happily. I just read Sounder yesterday (will post about it soon) and I was crying by page 4. Like a fool, I brought it with me to my son's martial arts class. Big mistake. ;)

Corinne said...

Joanne - how young of a child would you read it to?? I've never read it :)

Joanne (The Simple Wife) said...


Hmmm...good question. I'm sure that both of my girls could handle it (6 and 8) especially since it does end well. It's a quick read (thus reading it cover to cover during one bubble bath!) so it'd be easy to preview for your own kids.

I think that if you stop and talk about what you're reading and go just one chapter at a time that kids five and up would be fine.

Corinne said...

thanks Joanne!!

Sandy D. said...

My trivia books has this quote about Naylor: "While speaking at a school, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor overheard a child say, "Seventy books, and she's never won the Newbery?" Soon after, she won the 1992 Medal for Shiloh.

Anonymous said...

My 8 year old daughter read "Shiloh" and, as Joanne noted, we had some good discussions surrounding the plot line. However, I do have very strong feelings about the sequel books, "Shiloh Season" and "Saving Shiloh."

My daughter was found crying inconsolably. Seems Judd comes back very threateningly. There is only so much discussion I am willing to have in order to coach a child through a book. Child Abuse, drunkenness, gun shots, bar fights, and murder are issues my children can well mature into. For now we've chosen to leave the balance of the Shiloh series on the shelf.


BookGal said...

I absolutely agree about the sequels. They were dreadful. I've taught this book to third and fourth graders who love it and can debate it all day.