a golden retriever with a drake mallard in mouth returns to the hunter

Jim Kjelgaard – Patron Saint of Dogs, Boys, and The Great Outdoors

Stormy (Paperback)

Allan Marley and his father have lived together  in the untamed wilderness of the Beaver Flowage all  their lives. But when Mr. Marley is jailed because  of a bitter feud, Allan suddenly finds himself on  his own. Then he meets Stormy, an outlaw dog who  has been accused of turning on his owner. Allan  knows that the big black retriever has been  mistreated, and he works hard to win the noble dog’s trust  and affection. As allies, Allan and Stormy overcome  every danger they encounter in the unpredictable  wilderness…but can their bond protect Allan from  the viciousness of his father’s human enemies?

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big red dvd of book by Mr. Jim Kjelgaard Patron Saint of Dogs, Boys, And The Outdoors, movies
A Boy and His Big Red Dog

BIG RED – BIG FRIENDS

 

I often wonder where I would be were it not for a man called Jim Kjelgaard.

More than likely I would not have become nearly half the man I am, or strive to be, had we not been introduced.  Nor would I have lived the life of a hunter, biologist, an outdoor writer, or an ever hopeful wildlife photographer.

I probably would not have left my home in the New Jersey Pine Barrens for the wide open views of the Rocky Mountains, either.

Chances are you may not know him by name, though his reach and influence continues to this day. His work captivated a generation of young boys, soon to be men, searching for the soul of adventure and the heart of the wild outdoors.

Wikipedia defines Mr. Kjelgaard as an American Author of Young Adult Literature, which in my way of thinking is like saying that an ocean of water is very wet. As an author of forty novels and countless short stories and other works, he was certainly that, and more. Much, much more. He meant everything to a young boy bursting to learn what lived beyond the outer limits of his own backyard.

I have always been a reader, blessedly so, and born for it I suppose. I took to books like black ink yearns for the creative freedom of an empty white page. My face became well-known in any library I could enter, until I had read almost everything on animals and fishing and all things outdoors from their limited selections.

And then an angel of a librarian handed me a copy of “Stormy”, a story about an outlaw Labrador Retriever and his owner, written by this fellow with the strange name. It was unlike anything I had ever read and I was hooked deep in my insides like a catfish on a cane pole.

I was to discover very soon that dogs were a prominent feature in a Kjelgaard story. It’s easy to see why, since there is something completely natural and magical about young boys and their dogs. The combination just begs for adventure and open space to run and roam. They encourage each other on and on, over the hill to the next discovery,  past the bend in the ever beckoning road. Together, there is nothing a boy and a dog can’t do.

I have read a little about the author’s life and I am convinced that he understood and loved the outdoors with a passion that even he could not convey. You can feel it on every page and in every character of every sentence. He had a remarkable ability to put you in the moment, in and of the scene, as if it were written just for you. He tells you that you can experience it too, if you chose.

Don’t wait, he says, just get out there and listen to the music of the hounds between deep breaths of pine and sugar maple under the brilliance of a harvest moon. His books hold the waving fields of marsh grass and the woods full of white-tailed deer and bobwhite quail and the screams of brightly colored blue jays. He shows us boys with guns, back when it was a natural and good thing that made you smile, knowing that some lucky family was sure to be enjoying a meal of squirrel or cottontail rabbit very soon.

Open to any page, and you can hear the sounds in your head as if you were standing there yourself. It was a guaranteed transport to a technicolored world of motion and light with a dog by your side. A world defined by the movements of animals and the rhythm of the seasons, punctuated by the sounds of drumming grouse and the chorus of frogs in the evening.

The comforts of family and home life ran strong throughout his stories. It was what made it all work.It was the knowing that safety and the comforting hearth of home stood solidly back where you had come from, when you needed it, which give us all the strength to be brave and venture out and abroad.

Sadly, Jim has been gone for some time now, just like the world he once knew.  He was taken from us much too soon, by illness and despair, and though that world he inhabited may be gone his voice is as relevant today as it was back then. In fact it is even more important than it ever was. He is a beacon of light for the spirits of young boys and their four-legged companions, filled with the quest for exploration and the simple, unmitigated joy of being a boy.

Of course I never met him personally, though I wish I had. Sadly, he was already gone when I was barely born. I would give much of what I have just to thank him for all of his precious gifts to me. It is because of Jim Kjelgaard and men like him that I have wandered the wilderness and spirited air, and lived a life filled with my own stories to tell.

Turning to face the world, what more can a young boy hope for?


To hear an excellent audio reading of this post, listen at  ADVENTURECAST.

 

Trailing Trouble, Dave and His Dog Mulligan, Big Red, Swamp Cat, Fire-Hunter, A Nose For Trouble By Jim Kjelgaard. Most Pictured Here are First Edition Copies With Dustjackets and Are Highly Collectible. From The Book Collection of Michael Patrick McCarty
A Prized Collection of Jim Kjelgaard Titles. Photo by Michael Patrick McCarty

Jim Kjelgaard books are prized by collectors. First Edition copies with dustjackets in collectible condition are extremely difficult to find. They can be expensive, too!

Signed First Edition Book Fire-Hunter by Jim Kjelgaard. Illustrated By Ralph Ray. A Rare Autographed Inscription to Kjelgaard's Former School Teacher and Librarian. From The Book Collection of Michael Patrick McCarty
A Man’s Best Friend! From The Book Collection of Michael Patrick McCarty

This amazing inscription reads: “All best wishes to the best darn teacher – librarian, and best friend in the world. Jim Kjelgaard”.

Something tells me that this teacher was very proud of the student!

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*Many of Jim Kjelgaard’s books are still in print across the globe, and he is a pre-eminent favorite among those who wish to home school. So, if you somehow missed him, it’s not too late. You may also want to track down a copy of the 1962 Walt Disney film “Big Red”, named after that marvelous and unforgettable Irish Setter of the same name. It will make you want to run out and acquire an Irish Setter too!

A photograph of Jim Kjelgaard and His Irish Setter, Taken from The Dustjacket Biography of Dave and His Dog, Mulligan. Illustrated by Sam Savitt
One Hell of a Dog

 

See Our Post About Stormy, by Jim Kjelgaard, HERE

See our book catalog for Jim Kjelgaard Titles HERE.

Posted by Michael Patrick McCarty

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The Dustjacket Biography of Jim Kjelgaard, Found on a First Edition Copy of Dave and His Dog, Mulligan. Illustrated by Sam Savitt
A Brief Biography of Jim Kjelgaard

THE BOOKS OF JIM KJELGAARD

 

Forest Patrol – 1941, Holiday House

Rebel Siege – 1943, Holiday House

Big Red – 1945, Holiday House

Buckskin Brigade – 1947, Holiday House 

Snow Dog – 1948, Holiday House

“Born in the wilderness, the puppy had to learn the ways of survival like any other wild thing. Staghound and Husky ancestors had given him speed and stamina, but it was his own courage and intelligence that brought him through when a weaker dog would have perished. He learned to hunt, to find shelter, to protect himself from enemies”.

The Dustjacket From a First Edition Copy of Sow Dog by Jim Kjelgaard. Illustrated by Jacob Landau
The Dustjacket From a First Edition Copy of Sow Dog by Jim Kjelgaard. Illustrated by Jacob Landau

 

The Endpapers From a First Edition Copy of Sow Dog by Jim Kjelgaard. Illustrated by Jacob Landau
The Endpapers From a First Edition Copy of Sow Dog by Jim Kjelgaard. Illustrated by Jacob Landau

Kalak of the Ice – 1949, Holiday House

A Nose for Trouble – 1949, Holiday House

Wild Trek – 1950, Holiday House 

“Wild trek is an adventure story involving Chiri, the half-wild hero of snow dog, and his trapper master. Their problem is to find and rescue a naturalist whose plane has been forced down in the Caribou Mountains, deep in the Canadian wilderness”.

The Dustjacket From a First Edition Copy of Wild Trek By Jim Kjelgaard
It’s all About The Trek
Illustrated Endpapers From A First Edition Copy of Wild Trek By Jim Kjelgaard
Illustrated Endpapers by H. K. Faye From A First Edition Copy of Wild Trek By Jim Kjelgaard
An Autographed Copy of A First Edition of Wild Trek by Jim Kjelgaard. Dedicated to Roberta Forsyth, One of The Author's Teachers. A Unique Association Copy.
A Very Special Double Dedication

Chip the Dam Builder – 1950, Holiday House 

Irish Red, Son of Big Red -1951, Holiday House
                                               – 1962, Collins Famous Dog Stories

Fire-hunter – 1951, Holiday House

The Endpaper Art From a First Edition Copy of Fire-Hunter By Jim Kjelgaard. Illustrated by Ralph Ray. From The Book Collection of Michael Patrick McCarty
Saber-tooths and Bears and Wolves Oh Boy!

“This is a story of the days when sabertooth tigers and wooly mammoths roamed the earth. When men lived in wandering bands and stalked their prey with spears and clubs. When fire was their greatest friend, and human hands and brains their only advantage over wild beasts”.

The Explorations of Pere Marquette -1951, Random House

Trailing Trouble – 1952, Holiday House

Outlaw Red, Son of Big Red – 1953, Holiday House 

The Spell of the White Sturgeon – 1953, Dodd Mead 

A First Edition Copy of The Spell of The White Sturgeon by Jim Kjelgaard, Showing the Front Panel of the Dustjacket. Art By Stephen Voorhies. From The Book Collection of Michael Patrick McCarty
The Sturgeon Abides!

“The vivid, action-packed story of a boy from the New York waterfront who sought adventure on tempestuous, yet fascinating Lake Michigan when the Midwest was growing hardily and fishing was the chief energetic industry of that great body…and he found too, that the giant white sturgeon who cast a spell of fear over the sturdiest fishermen whenever it appeared, could mean good fortune for him”.

"To The World's Best Librarian From The World's Worst Writer Jim". A Uniquely Personal Inscription, Found On a Signed First Edition Copy of The Spell of The White Sturgeon By Jim Kjelgaard. From The Book collection of Michael Patrick McCarty
“To The World’s Best Librarian From The World’s Worst Writer Jim”. A Uniquely Personal Inscription

The Coming of the Mormons – 1953, Random House

Haunt Fox– 1954, Holiday House 

Cracker Barrel Trouble Shooter – 1954, Dodd Mead

Lion Hound – 1955, Holiday House

Collins Famous Dog Stories

The Lost Wagon – 1955, Dodd Mead 

Desert Dog – 1956, Holiday House

Trading Jeff and his Dog – 1956, Dodd Mead

Wildlife Cameraman – 1957, Holiday House

A First Edition Copy of Wildlife Cameraman, with Dustjacket, by Jim Kjelgaard. Illustrated by Sam Savitt. Photo by Michael Patrick McCarty
A Book That Inspired a Generation of Wildlife Photographers

 

The Endpaper illustrations of a First Edition Copy of Wildlife Cameraman, with Dustjacket, by Jim Kjelgaard. Illustrated by Sam Savitt
Wilderness, a Camera, and the Promise of Adventure

Double Challenge – 1957, Dodd Mead 

We Were There at the Oklahoma Land Run – 1957, Grosset & Dunlap 

Wolf Brother – 1957, Holiday House
                         – 1963, Collins Famous Dog Stories

Swamp Cat – 1957, Dodd Mead 

The Wild Horse Roundup-Collection of Stories by Western Writers of America, 
                            Editor – 1957, Dodd Mead 

Rescue Dog of the High Pass – 1958, Dodd Mead

Hound Dogs & Others-Collection of Stories by Western Writers of America
                          Editor – 1958, Dodd Mead

The Land is Bright – 1958, Dodd Mead

The Black Fawn – 1958, Dodd Mead 

The Story of Geronimo – 1958, Grosset & Dunlap

Hi Jolly – 1959, Dodd Mead 

Stormy – 1959, Holiday House

Ulysses & his Woodland Zoo – 1960, Dodd Mead

Boomerang Hunter – 1960, Holiday House 

The Duck-footed Hound – 1960, Crowell

Tigre – 1961, Dodd Mead

The Front of Dustjacket Illustration by Everett Raymond Kinstler, Found On A First Edition Copy of Tigre by Jim Kjelgaard, From The Book Collection of Michael Patrick McCarty
The Front of Dustjacket Illustration by Everett Raymond Kinstler, Found On A First Edition Copy of Tigre by Jim Kjelgaard

 

“Pepe, the youthful Mexican goatherd, had many battles to fight…and hardest of all, against the killer tigre or jaguar which had taken the life of Pepe’s father and threatened to destroy the family herd of goats, their very livelihood”

Hidden Trail – 1962, Holiday House

Fawn in the Forest & other Wild Animal Stories – 1962, Dodd Mead 

Two Dogs & a Horse – 1964, Dodd Mead

Furious Moose of the Wilderness – 1965, Dodd Mead

Dave and his Dog, Mulligan – 1966, Dodd Mead

“…his great wish was to become a game warden…Dave had a second big dream for the future. He wanted to prove that hunting the “varmints” – the coyotes, the bobcats and lions that ran rampant in the nearby countryside – could prove a challenging, diverting sport to the countless hunters who swarmed into the area each open season, mostly in quest of deer. This would also put a stop to the reckless placing of poison bait by certain ruthless sheepmen whose flocks were being raided by the varmints”. (From the Dustjacket Flap)

Internal Illustration of Buck White-tailed Deer by Sam Savitt, Found in the Book Dave and His Dog, Mulligan by Jim Kjelgaard
Illustration By Sam Savitt, From a First Edition Copy of Dave and His Dog, Mulligan

Coyote Song – 1969, Dodd Mead

Front Cover of Dustjacket of A First Edition Copy of Coyote Song By Jim Kjelgaard. Illustrated By Robert Maclean
Front Cover of The Dustjacket of A First Edition Copy of Coyote Song By Jim Kjelgaard. Illustrated By Robert Maclean

 

See Our Post About Stormy, by Jim Kjelgaard, HERE

See our book catalog for Jim Kjelgaard Titles HERE.

Posted by Michael Patrick McCarty

https://steemit.com/hunting/@huntbook/jim-kjelgaard-patron-saint-of-dogs-boys-and-the-great-outdoors

One thought on “Jim Kjelgaard – Patron Saint of Dogs, Boys, and The Great Outdoors”

  1. I stumbled across his books back in middle school…sometime around the year of 98. I know Jim’s amazing dog stories were meant for boys but I was hooked. I remember being sad after I devoured every single one of the books they had at that library. I am so excited to learn that he has written more. Thank you very much for the list. I can’t wait to share Jim’s work with my kids. You are right…his stories really grab you in the gut or soul. The only thing close to Jim’s work is an anime called gin nagareboshi gin. Now I wonder who inspired who…

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