76 pages 2 hours read

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor


Fiction | Novella | Middle Grade | Published in 1991

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Important Quotes

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“Never shoot at anything moving, though. Never had the slightest wish.”

(Chapter 1, Page 2)

From the opening pages, Marty reveals his love of animals, which helps form his later attachment to Shiloh. Although he enjoys practicing with his rifle, he will not shoot a living creature. 

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“Don’t have to mark a dog to hurt him, I’m thinking.” 

(Chapter 1, Page 7)

Marty shows his empathic nature and an astute understanding of the nature of abuse. Even though Shiloh is not visibly injured, Marty knows by the beagle’s behavior that Shiloh has not been treated kindly. Judd yells at and withholds food from his dogs; both are forms of cruelty that do not leave visible marks. Marty’s distinct narrative voice is also noticeable in this quote in his use of the present tense and his Appalachian dialect. 

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“It’s his concern, Marty, not yours. It’s not your dog. You keep to your own business.” 

(Chapter 2 , Page 11)

In Dad’s attempt to get Marty to forget about Shiloh, he shows his acceptance of the community’s culture of privacy and non-intervention. This norm, although it protects independence, can lead to the concealment of wrongs. Marty is willing to break this norm for Shiloh.