John Reynolds Gardiner's much-loved book was first published in 1980. Stone Fox is based on a folktale told to the author and explores the resolve of Willy to save his Grandfather from despair and their farm from the tax collector. Willy and his beloved dog, Searchlight, enter a dog sled race so that they can win the $500 prize money and pay off Grandfather's debt. Willy and Searchlight must compete against the legendary Stone Fox, a man who has never lost a race. The outcome of the race is both tragic and noble. The emotional storyline about a persistent boy and his spirited dog is one of the reasons that the book has sold millions of copies and was named as one of the Notable Books of the Year by the New York Times in 1980.