Estimated read time: 4 min read

One Sentence Summary

A young boy forms a deep bond with a champion Irish setter named Big Red.


"Big Red" by Jim Kjelgaard is a classic novel that captures the heartwarming story of a young boy and his loyal Irish Setter, Big Red. Set in the wilderness of the Canadian mountains, the book takes readers on an adventurous journey filled with love, friendship, and the unbreakable bond between a boy and his dog.

Brief Synopsis

The story is set in the rugged and beautiful wilderness of the Canadian mountains. The protagonist, Danny, is a young boy who lives with his father, a skilled and respected Irish Setter breeder. Danny's life takes a thrilling turn when he comes across a magnificent and wild Irish Setter, which he names Big Red. As Danny and Big Red form an unbreakable bond, they embark on numerous adventures, facing challenges and dangers in the wilderness.

Main Characters

The main characters in "Big Red" include:

DannyA young boy living in the Canadian wilderness, who forms a deep bond with Big Red.
Big RedA wild and magnificent Irish Setter, known for his courage and loyalty.
Danny's FatherA skilled Irish Setter breeder and a respected figure in the community.

Chapter Summaries

Chapters 1-3: The Wild Irish Setter

Danny encounters a wild Irish Setter in the mountains and names him Big Red. Despite the dog's wild nature, Danny is determined to tame him and make him a part of his life.

Chapters 4-6: Training and Bonding

Danny begins the challenging task of training Big Red, and as they spend more time together, their bond grows stronger. They face various obstacles, but their determination prevails.

Chapters 7-9: The Wilderness Adventures

Danny and Big Red venture into the wilderness, facing the untamed nature of the Canadian mountains. They encounter wildlife and experience the thrill of exploring the vast and rugged terrain.

Chapters 10-12: A Looming Threat

As they continue their adventures, Danny and Big Red encounter a looming threat in the form of dangerous predators. Their survival skills and the strength of their bond are put to the test.

Chapters 13-15: The Ultimate Challenge

A life-threatening situation forces Danny and Big Red to rely on each other like never before. Their courage and resilience are tested as they confront the most significant challenge of their journey.

Main Events

  • Danny encounters a wild Irish Setter in the mountains and names him Big Red.
  • Danny and Big Red form a deep bond as they face various challenges in the wilderness.
  • They venture into the untamed Canadian mountains, encountering wildlife and dangerous predators.
  • A life-threatening situation puts their courage and resilience to the ultimate test.

Themes and Insights

Loyalty and Friendship

The novel beautifully portrays the unwavering loyalty and friendship between Danny and Big Red, emphasizing the deep connection between humans and animals.

Courage and Resilience

The characters exhibit immense courage and resilience in the face of adversity, highlighting the strength of the human-animal bond and the determination to overcome challenges.

Wilderness and Adventure

The novel immerses readers in the beauty and danger of the Canadian wilderness, showcasing the thrill of adventure and the awe-inspiring power of nature.

Reader's Takeaway

"Big Red" offers readers a captivating and heartwarming tale of friendship, loyalty, and the indomitable spirit of adventure. The bond between Danny and Big Red serves as a testament to the enduring connection between humans and animals, leaving readers with a profound sense of love and companionship.


In conclusion, "Big Red" by Jim Kjelgaard is a timeless tale that captures the essence of friendship, courage, and the unbreakable bond between a boy and his dog. Set against the backdrop of the Canadian wilderness, the novel takes readers on a thrilling journey filled with adventure and heartwarming moments, leaving a lasting impression of the enduring power of love and loyalty.

Big Red FAQ

  1. What is 'Big Red' about?

    Big Red is a novel about a boy named Danny who develops a deep bond with a champion Irish setter named Big Red. The story follows their adventures in the wilderness and the challenges they face.

  2. Who is the author of 'Big Red'?

    The author of 'Big Red' is Jim Kjelgaard, an American author known for his popular children's books about animals and the wilderness.

  3. Is 'Big Red' suitable for all ages?

    Yes, 'Big Red' is a classic children's novel that is suitable for readers of all ages, especially those who enjoy stories about animals and outdoor adventures.

  4. What are some themes explored in 'Big Red'?

    Some of the themes explored in 'Big Red' include friendship, loyalty, courage, and the bond between humans and animals.

  5. Is 'Big Red' based on a true story?

    While 'Big Red' is a work of fiction, it draws inspiration from the author's own experiences and observations of nature, making it feel authentic and realistic.