Author: Jim Kjelgaard
Major Themes: Dogs, Peacemakers, Forgiveness, Hunting
Synopsis: His father is in prison for fighting with and seriously injuring a neighbor, and Allan is desperately trying to make a living in their wilderness home when an outlaw dog shows up and moves in with him.
This was one of my favorite authors for awhile, many years ago, and when I read Stormy recently with my boys I thoroughly enjoyed it again. Though not written from a Christian perspective, the message of being a peacemaker and forgiving others comes through quite clearly. It also caught the attention of my boys who have trouble reading, so that they were constantly begging me to let them read more—they even spent time one evening reading so we could finish the book! We’ve now gone on to the other book by this author that we have, and they are enjoying it, as well.
Stormy tells the story of Allan Marley, who lives on the shore of a lake somewhere in the north, along the flyway that waterfowl use to migrate north and south each year. He and his father have been making a comfortable living guiding duck hunters each fall, but now his father is in prison for fighting with and injuring a neighbor, and the neighbor’s family, in retaliation, has closed the road to their place, so now no hunters are coming.
As the first winter storm strikes, Allan is watching an injured duck out in the icy lake when a huge dog suddenly appears and swims out to retrieve it. The dog is injured, also, and cannot get back out of the lake because of the thin ice. Allan rescues the dog and patches him up. Then, he learns that this dog is an outlaw who has attacked a man. Can he keep the dog out of sight of people who might shoot him on sight? Will the dog learn to trust him and accept him as master? Can Allan make enough money trapping to live on for the year? And, most importantly, is there any way to live peaceably with the neighbors with whose father his own father had a fight?
Stormy a great story for anyone to read, especially for boys. It combines lessons in getting along with others, with life and survival in the wilderness, as well as hunting stories and a wonderful dog story.
WARNING: I noticed a couple of questionable words, on pages 26 and 94. There may have been one or two more, but those are the ones I marked out in our copy.
Read Aloud—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 13, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12