Title: Hie To The Hunters
Author: Jesse Stuart
Page Count: 265
Genre: Young Adult
Published: 1950, 1978, and 1988
Publisher: The Jesse Stuart Foundation
Summary: The Sparks family–salty old Peg Sparks, his wife Arn, and their sixteen-year-old son Sparkie– live in the Plum Grove Hills in a one room cabin. They don’t have a lot, but they would not turn a stray hound dog away from their door and certainly not a stray and certainly not a stray boy like pale, spindly Didway Hargis, who has run away from his wealthy home in town.
The boy from Greenwood, Did Hargis and the boy from the Plum Grove Hills, Sparkie, become good friends. Did learns to love the life of the hill people, as he becomes one of the Sparks family. He and Sparkie sleep in the hayloft, each with a hound dog for warmth. At night they hunt foxes and possums, and Did learns the difference between the long, slow “trail bark” of the hounds, and the rapid, excited bark that means the hound has treed a possum. He learns how to shake a possum from a tree, and how to set traps. By the day the boys work on the farm. Did learns how to chop firewood, how to plow with mules, plant corn, and strip tobacco. The boys reminisce about last week’s barn dance, and look forward to next week’s moonlight cornshucking. As Did becomes accustomed to the world of Plum Grove, and as he comes to love the sparks family and their neighbors, who are generous and kind, he grows strong, brown, and happy.
But Did and Sparkie’s Appalachian idyll is interrupted by a feud between the hill-folk and a group of townfolk, led by Did Hargis’ father, who comes to take Did home. Events leading up to a gala midnight cornshucking that turns into a pitched battle in the Plum Grove Hills, and the battle’s after math, all make fast-moving, exciting reading.
Review: I remember the first time I ever heard of this book. I was in sixth grade and my sixth grade teacher would read part of this book us daily as soon as we got back from lunch. It happened to be her absolute favorite book. As soon as she got done reading, I had to go to the library to check it out for myself. This book is a great coming of age story for anyone that wants to read it. I would classify this as a young adult but anyone who is interested in hunting and a good coming of age story should read this book. It really makes you think about how much better we have it today then the way that it used to be back forever ago. This story puts multiple things in perspective for anyone that is interested in barn burnings and hunting. As the characters in the book grow, so do you. Did and Sparky are relateable boys and you will fall in love with the characters. You can feel their emotions as they grow and change.
About the Author: Jesse Hilton Stuart (August 8, 1906 – February 17, 1984) was an American writer, school teacher, and school administrator who is known for his short stories, poetry, and novels as well as non-fiction autobiographical works set in centralAppalachia. Born and raised in Greenup County, Kentucky, Stuart relied heavily on the rural locale of northeastern Kentucky for his writings. Stuart was named the poet laureate of Kentucky in 1954.
Rating: I would give this book a rating of three. I really enjoyed this book and I’m hoping that you guys do too.
Disclaimer: I got lucky when I found this book. If you would like to read I suggest checking your library first because when you buy this book its going to be super expensive. I found a fairly cheap copy on amazon, but I think it was the only one at that price.