Four Surprising Facts about Shiloh

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Siloh is one of the most popular children’s books of all time. The book is regularly assigned to school-age children and has been adapted into multiple forms of media, including a feature-length film and a stage play. The book, which was published in 1991, tells the story of a young boy who vows to save an abused dog from his neighbor. The book features complex themes and morals and is sometimes challenged in libraries because of its mature themes. How much do you really know about Shiloh? Let’s take a look at some surprising facts about the original book, its film adaptation, and Shiloh himself.

The book was inspired by real events
The author of the book, Phyllis Naylor, was inspired to write Shiloh based on real life events. While visiting friends in West Virginia, Naylor came across an abused, frightened dog that was following them along a river. After returning home that night, Naylor told her husband that she believed the dog was being abused, questions she asked herself inspired Shiloh: “What if I knew who was abusing it? What if I knew who it belonged to? What if the dog kept running to me?”  The dog was later adopted by Naylor’s friends.

The book has received many honors
The original book earned multiple awards and honors in the field of literature. Its awards include the John Newbery Medal; the Sequoyah Children’s Book Award; the Mark Twain Readers Award; the William Allen White Children’s Book Award; and was included in the 2000 list of Top 100 Children’s Books.

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The book–and film–have sequels
Many readers who were assigned the original book in elementary school may be surprised to learn that both the book and film have sequels. In 1996, Naylor published Shiloh Season and in 1997, she published the final book in the trilogy, Saving Shiloh. Both books were adapted into film in 1999 and 2006.

The film is very different from the book
Although the film follows the same general idea as the book, there are many differences. In the film, Marty’s family is very wealthy; in the book, his family is poor. Judd in the film is an outsider who moves into town, while in the book he has lived in town all his life. Additional scenes and characters were added to the film to introduce more of an external plot.

 

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