Archive for September 7th, 2015

TPW Magazine: A Boy and His Dog

Monday, September 7th, 2015
Fred Gipson, writer of "Old Yeller". Memorabilia from Mason, TX Memorial Library.

Fred Gipson, writer of “Old Yeller”. Memorabilia from Mason, TX Memorial Library.

This is Passport to Texas

Perhaps you read the book, or saw the Disney film. Either way, many people, including writer, Cynthia Pickens, found the story of Old Yeller by Fred Gipson moving.

04— It is a universal story: the love between a boy and his dog.

Pickens wrote about the book and its author for Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine. She says she read it as a child and again as an adult. I asked what part of the story her younger self found most compelling.

09—The whole scenario of the terrible decision that Travis had to make as a kid, and carry out. I was just in awe that a boy could do that.

If you haven’t read the novel, we won’t reveal the “terrible decision” the book’s young protagonist, Travis, faced. Pickens says the book captures 1860s rural life in the Texas Hill Country, and created a strong sense of place, which she could appreciate better as an adult reader.

24— When I reread the book as an adult, I could certainly see the place and the time. Maybe, as a child, you don’t really focus on those kinds of details, but as an adult reading the book, I’m like, ‘oh, prickly pear flats, and cedar trees, and rocky gulches that they rode through…’ So, when you reread it as an adult, you definitely get that this is a Texas book and that it could have been written by no one but a Texan.

Cynthia Pickens says Old Yeller can inspire a sense of wonder about the natural world in young readers.

Find her article Looking back at Old Yeller and Texas author Fred Gipson in the August/September issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.