Dutton, 1988. 978-0-525-46346-7
Synopsis: Sam Gribley is unhappy with his life in the New York apartment with his family so he decides to make a home for himself on abandoned family land in the Catskills Mountains. At first, Sam is scared because he can’t catch any food or build a very good shelter. With some help from a librarian in a town at the base of the mountain, Sam learns to recognize plants that he can eat, how to save his food, how to make a shelter, and train a falcon that he adopted and named Frightful. When news spreads of a wild boy living in the woods, Sam worries that he will not abe able to keep living on the mountain.
Why I picked it up: My mom taught a fifth grade literature unit on this book.
Why I finished it: Every kid dreams of running away at some point, but Sam actually does it and manages to make it work when most of the rest of us would have been home in time for dinner. What I liked about the book was Sam’s ingenuity and his ability to adapt to the mountain conditions in which he was living. Plus, it seemed like a really long but fun camping trip. With technology at the forefront of most of our daily activities, we often forget that there is another world in the outdoors that could be explored. Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts who have been on enough camping trips will recognize some of the activities Sam occupies himself with in the book; those of us who are not big fans of the outdoors might have their interest piqued or look at the story as a fond daydream about a boy who runs away. I found the book very imaginative and exciting, though I was disappointed with the ending. However, there are two more books in the series, so I have a feeling Sam’s adventures will continue.
Other related materials: My Side of the Mountain (movie); On the Far Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George; Frightful’s Mountain by Jean Craighead George; Pocket Guide to Outdoors: Based on My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George; The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare; The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare; Hatchet by Gary Paulsen; Brian’s Winter by Gary Paulsen; Brian’s Return by Gary Paulsen; Holes by Louis Sachar; Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell; Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt; Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls; Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls