James Arthur Kjelgaard, known to many as the author of the book "Big Red" from which the movie by Walt Disney was released in 1959. Kjelgaard's wife said the project nearest and dearest to his heart was the preservation of forests and wildlife. His second passion was writing stories for children about animals, and the great outdoors. He was born and raised on an 1800 acre farm in Potter County, New York. He graduated from high school but was more of a self-educated man who read everything he could get his hands on from the Rover Boys series to Robert Burns.
He was the oldest of six children and his favorite animals were dogs and raccoons. He wrote numerous stories and sent them to nature magazines that were rejected for many years. Then one day an editor from Milwaukee named Eddie was impressed with his writings. Eddie was actually "Edna." Their relationship developed and Kjelgaard moved to Milwaukee and married her.
Mr. K. worked as a hunter's guide. He tracked deer, bears, minks and beavers. He worked as a forest ranger for many years also until his books became successful and famous to maintain a living. His wife and family lived in Arizona for awhile. The desert was one of his favorite places.
He was known as a kind and loving man who enjoyed encouraging and helping children. He wrote 8 books the year he died. He has many fans all over the world that continued to write him long after his death. His books are adventurous and written with excitement that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. I was impressed with the quality of his writing. They contain vocabulary that can challenge the average high school student. My 13 year old loves animals and nature stories, so Kjelgaard's books were a big hit.
His first book, "Forest Patrol," was based on the characters and settings at Cross Fork where he worked as a forest ranger. His second book, "Rebel Siege," is a historical fiction of the American Revolution in the South.
I learned of Mr. K. at our local country library from an older gentlemen who endlessly raved and praised of his books which he read as a young boy. Many libraries have discarded these older, well written treasures.
Some titles have been reprinted in paperback, complete and unabridged by Dell Publishers. Please click and use this link —> Books Available to purchase and view titles in print. Titles with original publishers and copyright dates are listed below.
This particular book may be the best buy. It is a hardback, complete and unabridged with 11 of his novels for $69.99. Kjelgaard Hardback Keep in mind, some books, even like this hardback collection could go out of print.