Sounder

 
3.0
 
4.3 (6)
2727 0
Sounder
Publisher
Age Range
10+
Release Date
December 30, 2019
ISBN
978-0064400206
Buy This Book
      
The Newbery Medal–winning classic novel about the courage and faith—and the love of a dog—that give a family strength in the face of inhumanity. This middle grade novel is an excellent choice for tween readers in grades 5 to 6, especially during homeschooling. It’s a fun way to keep your child entertained and engaged while not in the classroom.

The boy knows that times are tough for his family. Every night, his father goes out hunting with their great coon dog, Sounder, to try to put food on the table. But even with the little they bring back, there is still never enough for the family to eat.

When the boy awakens one morning to a sweet-smelling ham on the table, it seems like a blessing. But soon, the sheriff and his deputies come to the house and take the boy’s father away in handcuffs. Suddenly the boy must grow up fast in a world that isn’t fair, keeping hope alive through the love he has for his father’s faithful dog, Sounder.

Readers who enjoy timeless dog stories such as Old Yeller and Where the Red Fern Grows will find much to love in Sounder, even as they read through tears at times.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Historical Perspective is Important
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
HarperCollins issued a revised edition of this on 30 Decemember 2019. This 1970 Newbery winner is set in the deep South at an undetermined point before 1950. It concerns a young boy whose family lives in a Negro (the outdated term used in the book) sharecropper shack, and struggle to survive. When the father is arrested for stealing a pig in order to feed his family, the family suffers even more. During the arrest, the boy's dog is shot, but the mother orders the boy to let the dog go off to die. He finds part of the dog's ear and keeps it with him. The father is not treated well, and the family is not alerted when he is moved from one situation to another, each one involving more forced labor and more horrible conditions. At one point, the boy tries to bring him a cake, but it is destroyed with malice by the warden. The boy spends a lot of time combing the countryside, looking for his father. At one point, he is injured, and a teacher helps him bandage his hand and helps him learn to read, something he has long wanted to do. The father eventually comes home, gravely injured, and Sounder (who was badly wounded but survived) feels that it is time that he can die.
Good Points
I have my concerns about this one. It was a Newbery winner 40 years ago, and while it is an important historical document, I would give it to young readers with great caution and a lot of discussion. It's not #OwnVoices, the African-American characters are not even given names, the n-word (as well as the outdated Negro) is used, and the mistreatment of the African-Americans is just accepted as normal. There's also a lot of description about letting Sounder go die where he wants, and the boy keeps part of the dog's ear that was shot off in his pocket.

There are so many other good books for young readers today that put even historical racial injustice in better perspective. Writing styles also change, and Sounder is very slow paced and lyrical. Jackson's Midnight without a Moon, Woods's The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA, Wright's Crow, Burg's A Thousand Never Evers, Draper's Stella By Starlight, and Cline's Finding Langston, all offer historical perspectives filtered through modern sensibilities, and are better choices for young readers who may not have adults to help them process the racial injustices of the past.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

User reviews

6 reviews

 
(3)
 
(2)
 
(1)
2 stars
 
(0)
1 star
 
(0)
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.3  (6)
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A  (0)
Already have an account? or Create an account
View most helpful
Sad and Powerful
(Updated: August 13, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
This short novel is a terribly sad but very powerful story. It’s the story of a boy, a dog and the horrible tragedy that affects the boy’s family. The boy is the son of an African American sharecropper, a poor farmer who works the land that belongs to another man. At night, the man hunts with Sounder, a mighty mutt of a hunting dog who his children, especially the boy, love dearly. One night, the man goes out without a lantern or the hunting dog, and a wonderful ham appears on the table the next morning. Events spiral down from there, becoming darker as white men come to the house and arrest the man. The scene where the man is arrested feels almost surreal, as if it’s so horrible it couldn’t possibly be happening. Sounder is almost killed when he tries to run after his master, and the boy is devastated and numb by what has happened.

The rest of the book is a coming of age tale, one that is bittersweet and very realistic. The boy faces racism, sorrow, despondency, hatred and his own dark feelings and learns to overcome them all as he grows up. I like how none of the characters in the book have names besides the dog, Sounder. It makes it feel like the story is a legend, that who the story happened to doesn’t matter: it’s the fact that the events of the story happened at all that matters. The story feels real and mythical all at the same at time because the names were left one, but I think this ambiguity only makes the book better.

It is a great story for looking into human nature and seeing various aspects of it. The boy goes through many deep, serious emotions and has to deal with a lot of pain, suffering and injustice in his life, but there are also bright spots, like the love of his family and his chance to learn to read. I think middle-school and high school students would benefit from reading this book the most.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 1 0
Bittersweet Ending
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by PeaceChik

This book is really sad, I mean reeally sad. Not in a cry kind of sad but a sad that makes you thankful that you have a good life.

So there's this boy(that's all they ever call him in the book BOY), and he and his family are sharecroppers and they are really poor.
His dad steals a ham from the owner and these white men come in and arrest him. The family dog who's name is Sounder tries to catch his owner by following the wagon he's in but the men shoot him and Sounder is left for dead.
Then the boy goes on a search for his father who had been sentenced to work on the "chain-gang".
He eventually finds this man who teaches him about stuff and eventually goes back home.
I would tell you the rest but then I'd give away the whole story.
It's a Sad ending and a sweet ending, although it may be more on the bitter side.
But it's a great book if you like reading about African American historical Fiction.
PEAce!
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
Even the finest things can help get you through life
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Laura

This is a book about a boy that gets a loyal coon dog wich he names sounder.Sounder is extremely loyal to his master, so when his master is taken away by the cops for stealing food to feed his family, Sounder tries to protect him. In the process, he nearly dies. Sounder helps his master's son live through the hard times ahead, but can he help the boy get his father back?This was an extremely well written book, and I definitely enjoyed it. However, the story was so tragically sad that left me feeling a bit depressed.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
Very Sad :(
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Jamie

This book really mad me cry I'm not sure why but I get very emotional when ever I read about poor people and how they have to steal food just to fead their family. anyways this is my review of the book.

Angry and humiliated when his father is jailed for stealing food for his family, a young black boy grows in courage and understanding by learning to read and with his relationship with his dog Sounder.

Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
Great
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Martha

This book story tells everyone that the best for you isn't the best for other people. The boy faces his fears about his father and his dog and continues his life soon to see them again.

There is some sad parts but all together it is a good book!
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
A sad story
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Angela

I liked it,but it wasn't my favorite. The author wrote about his life when he was a kid. Some parts of the book where sad, because the boy in the story didn't alway understand what was happening, in his life. It was a good book for someone who like sad storys about the olden days. I think you should give this book a try.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Breathless
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
From Jennifer Niven, the #1 New York Times bestselling author...
Music for Tigers
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Shipped halfway around the world to spend the summer...
Skyhunter (Skyhunter, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A broken world. An overwhelming evil. ...
Kingdom of Ice and Bone (The Frozen Sun Saga, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Lira and Reyker have lost everything. Including each other....
Sword of the Seven Sins
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Eva Marteinn never wanted to be a killer. Raised...
Things That Should Stay Buried
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Some destinies are written in the stars. Others must...
How It All Blew Up
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda goes to Italy...
Horrid
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
From the author of You Must Not Miss comes...
Tsalix Silverthorn and the Scepter of Destiny
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The latest phenomenal work from New York Times Bestselling author...
The Adventures of Bubba Jones (#4): Time Traveling Through Grand Canyon National Park
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
In the fourth book of this award-winning national park series,...
The Companion
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
The other orphans say Margot is lucky. Lucky to...
Sanctuary
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
It's 2032, and in this near-future America, all citizens...
Teen Titans: Beast Boy
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Author Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures) and artist Gabriel Picolo,...
The Magic Misfits: The Fourth Suit (The Magic Misfits, #4)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Misfits must work together to fend off mysterious attacks...
Duck and Penguin Do Not Like Sleepovers
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
A hilarious bedtime romp tackles the thrills and anxieties of...
Furia
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
A powerful, #ownvoices contemporary YA for fans of The...

Latest Member Reviews

Breathless
 
4.0
"BREATHLESS is a book about change, secrets, and the aftermath. Claudine (Claude) is about to graduate high school, and she..."
Skyhunter (Skyhunter, #1)
 
5.0
"SKYHUNTER is an enthralling and lush YA fantasy. Lu really paints the story with her words, and this new novel..."
The Library of Lost Things
 
5.0
"I wasn't sure what to expect with The Library of Lost Things, but I know I didn't anticipate a book..."
Goddess in the Machine (Goddess in the Machine, #1)
 
5.0
"Andra, a teenager from the 2160s, is put into cryogenic stasis fulling expecting to wake up on another planet one..."
Kingdom of Ice and Bone (The Frozen Sun Saga, #2)
 
4.0
"KINGDOM OF ICE AND BONE picks up where the first book left off. Lira and Reyker are separated and each..."
How It All Blew Up
 
5.0
"HOW IT ALL BLEW UP is an absolutely riveting coming-out story. Amir Azadi is an Iranian American who has always..."
Music for Tigers
 
3.7
"A vividly descriptive Middle-Grade work with an ecological focus--enriched by elements of music, friendship, and atypical neurology. When her..."
The Shadow Mission (The Athena Protocol, #2)
 
4.3
"THE SHADOW MISSION is an even better sequel to THE ATHENA PROTOCOL with lots of action and spy-related danger. In..."
Horrid
 
4.3
"HORRID is an intensely creepy story that follows Jane and her mother, Ruth. Jane's father has just died and after..."
Color Outside the Lines
 
4.0
"WHAT I LOVED: The stories vary in genre, time period, and the makeup of the couples, but many of them..."
I'll Be the One (I'll Be the One #1)
 
5.0
"WHAT I LOVED: Haneul "Skye" Shin is talented, fat, and contrary to the max. Her mom tells Skye she..."
Legendborn (Legendborn, #1)
 
5.0
"LEGENDBORN is absolutely thrilling YA fantasy that captivated me from the start. Bree gained early entrance into UNC-Chapel Hill and..."
Blood & Honey
 
5.0
"This is going to be a hard review to write because I have so many words that want to come..."
Don't Call the Wolf
 
5.0
"Ren is the queen of the forest, a lynx shifter, and the protector of the forest's creatures. When a dragon..."
The Companion
 
4.3
"Everyone thinks Margot is lucky. She's the sole survivor of a horrific car crash that killed her family. While at..."
A Golden Fury
 
3.0
"Thea Hope has learned alchemy as her mother's apprentice, forced into the shadows when all she wants is equal credit..."
Foul is Fair
 
3.0
"Elle is part of the glittering crowd, beautiful and untouchable, or so they believe. One night, Elle and her friends..."
Burn Our Bodies Down
 
4.0
"Audiobook review Margot is tired of not getting answers from her mother about where she came from..."
His Hideous Heart
 
4.0
"HIS HIDEOUS HEART is a powerhouse of incredible writers retelling different works of Edgar Allen Poe. From "The Raven" to..."
Courting Darkness (Courting Darkness duology)
 
4.0
"Having loved the original Fair Assassin books, I was cautiously optimistic about this new duology continuing Sybella's story and introducing..."