76 pages 2 hours read

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor


Fiction | Novella | Middle Grade | Published in 1991

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to prompt student engagement.



  • Genre: Fiction; realistic middle grade
  • Originally Published: 1991
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 890L; grades 3-7
  • Structure/Length: 15 chapters; approx. 145 pages; approx. 2 hours, 47 minutes on audio
  • Protagonist and Central Conflict: Marty is 11 years old and is growing up in West Virginia, helping his family and longing for a dog. When a beagle, Shiloh, follows him home one day, a friendship forms, but his father makes him return Shiloh to the dog’s abusive owner Judd. Marty refuses to give up, though, facing one challenge after another to save Shiloh.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Animal abuse; child abuse

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Author

  • Bio: Born in 1933 in Indiana; grew up with siblings and parents during the Depression, with reading as a focus; started writing stories in elementary school; earned BA from American University; worked as clinical secretary, teacher, and other jobs; Shiloh adapted for film; has written over 130 books and thousands of stories; writes on a clipboard in her favorite chair; multiple Edgar Allan Poe Awards; multiple ALA Awards
  • Other Works: Witch’s Sister (1975) Agony of Alice (1985); Shiloh Season (1986); Incredibly Alice (2011)
  • Awards: John Newbery Medal (1992), Sequoyah Children’s Book Award (1994), Mark Twain Readers Award (1994) 

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Unit: