Book Review | The Shiloh Trilogy


Things continue to rock at Jefferson Carnegie Library, where this year’s summer reading theme is “Libraries Rock!” Lots of books are being read, and some of the best are the three books of the Shiloh Trilogy by author Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.

Set in rural West Virginia, “Shiloh” introduces eleven-year-old Marty Preston, who comes across a young beagle. It’s love at first sight, but It turns out the dog, which Marty names Shiloh, belongs to Judd Travers. Because Judd has been abusive, Shiloh runs away from Judd to Marty, and Marty hides him. Soon Marty must confront the ethical dilemma of doing a wrong thing – lying – for a good reason – to protect Shiloh from Judd. Marty’s secret becomes too big for him to keep to himself, and it exposes his entire family to Judd’s anger.

In a 1994 interview Naylor said, ”One of the pluses of writing for children is that the child may very well be reading about the subject for the first time. In Shiloh, there’s a moral dilemma with no black or white answer; the character compromises. It may be the child’s first time to realize that there are not sure answers. It’s sort of thrilling to have a child meet a problem like this for the first time.”

“Shiloh” was published in 1991; it has received at least 27 awards, include the 1992 Newberry Medal and the Texas Bluebonnet Award. It and “Shiloh Season” and “Saving Shiloh,” the other sequels published in the 1990’s, are all available for checkout at Jefferson Carnegie Library. The 2015 sequel, “A Shiloh Christmas,” is evidence that the story of Shiloh continues to resonant with today’s readers.

There are two more Summer Reading programs this year for children entering kindergarten through fifth grade –  July 11 and July 18. Both are on Wednesday, from 10:00 to 11:00 am.  The July 11 theme is Rock Around the World, while the final program is Styles and Stars. For more information or to register a child, call the library at 903-665-8911.


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