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4.5/5 (61 ratings)
67 pages
44 minutes
May 18, 2010


From Scribd: About the Book

Named a New York Times Outstanding Children’s Book, Stone Fox is a heartwarming, uplifting tale about one boy’s journey to pay the back taxes on his grandfather's farm with the purse from a dog sled race he enters.

Author John Reynolds Gardiner first heard the legend that inspired Stone Fox while in Idaho and it became his first published work. His other works include How to Live a Life That’s Not Boring. Stone Fox is a thrilling, action-packed tale that has captivated readers for over thirty years.

When Little Willy’s grandfather falls ill, he is no longer able to work the farm, which is in danger of foreclosure. Little Willy becomes determined to win the National Dogsled Race—the prize money would save the farm and his grandfather. But he isn't the only one who desperately wants to win. Willy and his brave dog Searchlight must face off against experienced racers, including a Native American man named Stone Fox, who has never lost a race.

May 18, 2010

About the author

John Reynolds Gardiner (1944–2006), who described himself as an “author, engineer, inventor, rock-and-roll singer, door-to-door salesman, songwriter, and Santa Claus,” traveled widely throughout his life. Born in California, he lived in Ireland, Germany, Italy, El Salvador, England, and Mexico. He heard the legend that inspired Stone Fox while in Idaho and it became his first published work. His other works include How to Live a Life That’s Not Boring.

Book Preview

Stone Fox - John Reynolds Gardiner



ONE DAY GRANDFATHER wouldn’t get out of bed. He just lay there and stared at the ceiling and looked sad.

At first little Willy thought he was playing.

Little Willy lived with his grandfather on a small potato farm in Wyoming. It was hard work living on a potato farm, but it was also a lot of fun. Especially when Grandfather felt like playing.

Like the time Grandfather dressed up as the scarecrow out in the garden. It took little Willy an hour to catch on. Boy, did they laugh. Grandfather laughed so hard he cried. And when he cried his beard filled up with tears.

Grandfather always got up real early in the morning. So early that it was still dark outside. He would make a fire. Then he would make breakfast and call little Willy. Hurry up or you’ll be eating with the chickens, he would say. Then he would throw his head back and laugh.

Once little Willy went back to sleep. When he woke up, he found his plate out in the chicken coop. It was picked clean. He never slept late again after that.

That is . . . until this morning. For some reason Grandfather had forgotten to call him. That’s when little Willy discovered that Grandfather was still in bed. There could be only one explanation. Grandfather was playing. It was another trick.

Or was it?

Get up, Grandfather, little Willy said. I don’t want to play anymore.

But Grandfather didn’t answer.

Little Willy ran out of the house.

A dog was sleeping on the front porch. Come on, Searchlight! little Willy cried out. The dog jumped to its feet and together they ran off down the road.

Searchlight was a big black dog. She had a white spot on her forehead the size of a silver dollar. She was an old dog—actually born on the same day as little Willy, which was over ten years ago.

A mile down the road they came to a small log cabin surrounded by tall trees. Doc Smith was sitting in a rocking chair under one of the trees, reading a book.

Doc Smith, little Willy called out. He was out of breath. Come quick.

What seems to be the matter, Willy? the doctor asked, continuing to read.

Doc Smith had snow white hair and wore a long black dress. Her skin was tan and her face was covered with wrinkles.

Grandfather won’t answer me, little Willy said.

Probably just another trick, Doc Smith replied. Nothing to worry about.

But he’s still in bed.

Doc Smith turned a page and continued to read. How late did you two stay up last night?

We went to bed early, real early. No singing or music or anything.

Doc Smith stopped reading.

Your grandfather went to bed without playing his harmonica? she asked.

Little Willy nodded.

Doc Smith shut

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What people think about Stone Fox

61 ratings / 24 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    Stone Fox was a touching story for young readers based on a Rocky Mountain legend. I loved Little Willie's determination to win the ten mile sled race, with the help of his beloved dog, Searchlight, and save his grandfather's farm. Even though I suspected how the book would end, I was desperately hoping I would be wrong. It was still a shock when it happened, and so sad. However, I appreciated the way the big Indian, Stone Fox, stepped in and did what he did. A sweet, heart-wrenching read.
  • (4/5)
    Stone Fox is about a loyal dog that helps a young boy named Willy out in a desperate time of need. After WIlly's grandfather becomes ill after finding out that he is has no money and will no longer be allowed to live on the farm. Willy decides to begin training for a race that will help them save the farm. This race is a daring feat against a man who has never lost. After much training and hard work this dog proves to be a true companion till the end.
  • (5/5)
    Awesome. Tragic.
  • (4/5)
    A classic tale about a boy names Little Willy who enters into a dog sled race with his long time dog and friend, Searchlight in order to win $500 to pay the back taxes on his grandfathers farm (who refuses to get out of bed). The book ends with Searchlight dying during the last leg of the race and Willy carrying him across the finish line as Stone Fox (their biggest competition) stops the other racers from crossing a line in the snow.
  • (5/5)
    Evocative black and white illustrations enhance a simply told story, recreating a simpler world of the past, where small boys could try to save the family farm and neighbors would do all they could to help. Willy’s grandfather has always cared for him. But now it’s Willy’s turn and he’ll do anything he can to bring his grandfather's mind back from the brink. But powerful banks conspire against him, and there’s only way Willy can raise the necessary money. Unfortunately someone else needs that money too. So how will need and luck play out?The story pulls the reader in right from the start. Willy’s kindness shines through. And Willy’s dog is truly delightful. But things weren’t always easy even in simpler times, and good people didn’t always win. The end of the race stays in doubt until the final pages as words fly by.Tragic, beautiful and kind, Stone Fox is a story to linger in the mind of young readers, inspiring questions, thought and hope.Disclosure: A good friend knew I’d love it and she was right.
  • (5/5)
    When grandfather has an apparent stroke, 10 year old Little Willie finds himself the sole caretaker of both Grandfather and the farm. In danger of losing the homestead and against all advice, Willie and his pet, Searchlight, enter the dogsled race in order to win the prize money and pay off the taxes on the farm. He is up against Stone Fox, the mysterious Native American who has never lost a race. Stone Fox needs the money to buy back land stolen from his people. Well written and fast paced, this book pulls you in and keeps you interested through the exciting race and its surprising ending--which Gardiner says was presented as a true story. A winner!