Counting By 7s
July 18, 2016
July 18, 2016

Old Yeller

Quick Glance



This is the total number of incidents in this 117 page book.

*As personal standards vary, please see the breakdown to determine what matters to you.

Author: Fred Gipson
Key Words: Fiction, Children, Boys, Frontier, Western, Newbery Honor

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Book Description:

It was lucky that old yellow-haired dog came along. Travis couldn't have managed without him. When his dad goes off on a cattle drive, 14-year-old Travis is left in charge. First a bear attacks his kid brother ... then he hears about a terrifying disease that turns animals and humans into mad creatures! Before his dad returns, that "Old Yeller" dog has become the best loved friend a boy could ever want.


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Children's Bad Words

Mild Obscenities & Substitutions - 1 Incident

shut up

Name Calling - 17 Incidents

fool, scamp, rascal, b*tch (but in reference to a dog), old devil, blabber mouth, wretch

Scatological Terms - 5 Incidents


(This is used biologically to describe blood flow but has been noted as this word is offensive in some cultures.)

Religious Profanities - 1 Incident


Religious & Supernatural - None

Violence - 1 Incident

A dog is injured and his wounds are described: "It was ripped wide open and some of his insides were bulging out through the slit."

Romance Related - 3 Incidents

A boy admits to sort of liking a girl. He explains/describes her: "They were big solemn brown eyes and right pretty to look at; only when she fixed them on me, it always seemed like they looked clear through me and saw everything I was thinking. That always made me sort of jumpy, so that when I could, I never would look right straight at her."

A five-year-old boy runs around or swims in the water hole naked several times throughout the story.

"Castration" is mentioned twice, with a follow up a few lines later: "Let a boar hog get grown without cutting his seeds out, and his meat is too tough and rank smelling to eat."

Parent Takeaway

A boy learns to be the man of the house while his father is away and works hard to prove his manhood. The younger brother in the story rarely minds his mother and is usually throwing tantrums, screaming, being disobedient or the like. This is not portrayed positively.

Attitudes/Disobedience - 15 Incidents

"He made me so mad at first that I wanted to kill him."

"Arliss turned and stuck his tongue out at me."

"Little Arliss sat in the dog run and sulked while I packed water...."

"...then turned on me, righting mad."

An angry child exclaims: "You kick my dog, and I'll wear you to a frazzle!"

Angry child: "... came at me, swinging." *It is noted next paragraph that this was "surprising" for this child to behave this way.

"Arliss was only five years old, but I'd spent a lot of time showing him how to throw a rock. Now I wished I hadn't. Because about then, a rock nearly tore my left ear off."

"I sulked and felt sorry for myself all the time.... the madder I got...."

Arliss is (again) "on the fight" and "started screaming at me " and "tried to get down where he could pick up a rock."

A child grumbles about how Arliss could "come in and tell Mama a big fib." This "big fib" is a big fish tale that Arliss tells his mother.

Child talking back to Mom: "'But Mama!' I gasped..."

Child is angry: "... so mad at Bud Searcy that I couldn't see straight."

Child is angry: "He threw a wall-eyed fit. He screamed and he hollered. He grabbed up a bunch of rocks and went to throwing them at Burn Sanderson."

Child is angry with parent: "He was fighting and screaming his head off at Mama for hitting his dog."

Conversation Topics - 2 Incidents

It is mentioned that a man "spit tobacco juice," and through the next paragraph it is discussed that "Mama said he was shiftless. She said that was the reason the rest of the men left him at home to sort of look after the womenfolks and kids while they were gone on the cow drive."

"He got out a twist of tobacco and bit off a chew big enough to bulge his cheek and went to chewing and talking and spitting juice right where we'd all be bound to step in it and pack it around on the bottoms of our feet."

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