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My Side of the Mountain

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Every kid thinks about running away at one point or another; few get farther than the end of the block. Young Sam Gribley gets to the end of the block and keeps going--all the way to the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. There he sets up house in a huge hollowed-out tree, with a falcon and a weasel for companions and his wits as his tool for survival. In a spellbindi Every kid thinks about running away at one point or another; few get farther than the end of the block. Young Sam Gribley gets to the end of the block and keeps going--all the way to the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. There he sets up house in a huge hollowed-out tree, with a falcon and a weasel for companions and his wits as his tool for survival. In a spellbinding, touching, funny account, Sam learns to live off the land, and grows up a little in the process. Blizzards, hunters, loneliness, and fear all battle to drive Sam back to city life. But his desire for freedom, independence, and adventure is stronger. No reader will be immune to the compulsion to go right out and start whittling fishhooks and befriending raccoons. Jean Craighead George, author of more than 80 children's books, including the Newbery Medal-winning Julie of the Wolves, created another prizewinner with My Side of the Mountain--a Newbery Honor Book, an ALA Notable Book, and a Hans Christian Andersen Award Honor Book. Astonishingly, she wrote its sequel, On the Far Side of the Mountain, 30 years later, and a decade after that penned the final book in the trilogy, Frightful's Mountain, told from the falcon's point of view. George has no doubt shaped generations of young readers with her outdoor adventures of the mind and spirit. (Ages 9 to 12) --Emilie Coulter


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Every kid thinks about running away at one point or another; few get farther than the end of the block. Young Sam Gribley gets to the end of the block and keeps going--all the way to the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. There he sets up house in a huge hollowed-out tree, with a falcon and a weasel for companions and his wits as his tool for survival. In a spellbindi Every kid thinks about running away at one point or another; few get farther than the end of the block. Young Sam Gribley gets to the end of the block and keeps going--all the way to the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. There he sets up house in a huge hollowed-out tree, with a falcon and a weasel for companions and his wits as his tool for survival. In a spellbinding, touching, funny account, Sam learns to live off the land, and grows up a little in the process. Blizzards, hunters, loneliness, and fear all battle to drive Sam back to city life. But his desire for freedom, independence, and adventure is stronger. No reader will be immune to the compulsion to go right out and start whittling fishhooks and befriending raccoons. Jean Craighead George, author of more than 80 children's books, including the Newbery Medal-winning Julie of the Wolves, created another prizewinner with My Side of the Mountain--a Newbery Honor Book, an ALA Notable Book, and a Hans Christian Andersen Award Honor Book. Astonishingly, she wrote its sequel, On the Far Side of the Mountain, 30 years later, and a decade after that penned the final book in the trilogy, Frightful's Mountain, told from the falcon's point of view. George has no doubt shaped generations of young readers with her outdoor adventures of the mind and spirit. (Ages 9 to 12) --Emilie Coulter

30 review for My Side of the Mountain

  1. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    A recent recommendation of this book reminded me that I read this book many moons ago. I even wrote a book report on it back in Middle School. I remember drawing a picture of the main character in an outdoor setting for the cover of the report. What is funny is remembering writing book reports back then and they felt like a big deal. But, the books were usually under 200 pages and the reports not quite as long as some of the reviews I now write on Goodreads every few days. But, they were such a A recent recommendation of this book reminded me that I read this book many moons ago. I even wrote a book report on it back in Middle School. I remember drawing a picture of the main character in an outdoor setting for the cover of the report. What is funny is remembering writing book reports back then and they felt like a big deal. But, the books were usually under 200 pages and the reports not quite as long as some of the reviews I now write on Goodreads every few days. But, they were such a big deal and we usually had a whole semester to read one book and write one report. Ah, how things have changed for me. What I think is great about this book is it is one of the classic YA books that I would still recommend to young readers today. While it is set in an atmosphere that predates what today’s youth are familiar with, I still think they will enjoy it and learn something about what us old timers used to read when we were kids (yup, I guess I am getting to be an old timer!) I know that there is some concern about the message of kids running away from home. But, I think that with some guidance and discussion I think a kid will understand it is a story and that they should not head out into the woods alone and start trying to live off the land when they are only twelve or so! So, when my kids get to be an age where they are asked to do book reports, if they haven’t already read this one, it will come recommended from me. (And, I swear I no longer have my old report so no cheating off of me!)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jessica C.

    People, this book was written in the late 50s, and things were a bit different back then. Trying to place it in the now does not work. Yes, there are many unbelievable parts, but it is a children's fiction book, not a survival guide. This charming story brings me back to my youth and reading other George books. Escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life is something many of us imagine for a time. I know I did, judging from journals from when I was young. Thinking it is bad or stupid because People, this book was written in the late 50s, and things were a bit different back then. Trying to place it in the now does not work. Yes, there are many unbelievable parts, but it is a children's fiction book, not a survival guide. This charming story brings me back to my youth and reading other George books. Escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life is something many of us imagine for a time. I know I did, judging from journals from when I was young. Thinking it is bad or stupid because of its implausibilities means you have lost your imagination and probably have no idea what some kids think about. perhaps it should not be forced on kids to read in school, but classics that won awards are always fair game. If you don't like them, write a new story that will get awards. And if you can't, then don't complain. The Newbery (et al.) selection committee is awesome and well qualified and does an awesome job finding the top books out of hundreds or thousands published a year. Sorry for the rant. This book is lovely and accessible to many. Keep when it was written in context, and you should enjoy the day to day life of surviving on a mountain.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    After I finished the last paragraph of this story last night, my 13-year-old daughter, without even looking up from her sketch pad, announced to her younger sister and me, “Well, just about everything in that book was wrong, from the first sentence to the last.” I started to open my mouth to defend this middle grades read, but no sound came out, so I shut it quickly. She's right; this book is one hot mess. And yet. . . it is a beloved book. I see that most of my friends on here have rated it 4 or 5 After I finished the last paragraph of this story last night, my 13-year-old daughter, without even looking up from her sketch pad, announced to her younger sister and me, “Well, just about everything in that book was wrong, from the first sentence to the last.” I started to open my mouth to defend this middle grades read, but no sound came out, so I shut it quickly. She's right; this book is one hot mess. And yet. . . it is a beloved book. I see that most of my friends on here have rated it 4 or 5 stars. So, what's the deal? Why did we have such a different experience of this story? Well, as I probed a little deeper, reading friends' reviews, I noticed that most of them had one thing in common: their youth. They had read this book as kids and they probably focused on one boy's year of living alone in the woods. They've most likely remembered the wildness, the unique forest foods the boy consumed, the freedom of living away from parents and siblings. I get it. In theory, this is a great story. Or, it's a story that had great potential. In theory, so is Ms. George's Julie of the Wolves. But, for me, there is still, too-often, a disconnect between Jean Craighead George's noble intentions of spreading the word about living more closely to nature versus her ability to present readers with a three-dimensional protagonist and a cohesive plot. The three readers at our house struggled, from start to finish, with the protagonist, Sam Gribley. Sam has run away from home as a young teen because he claims he doesn't “like to be dependent, particularly on electricity, rails, steam, oil, coal, machines, and all those things that go wrong.” Wha?? First, why would a 13-year-old living in New York City talk like this? Second, couldn't he have been pissed off at his parents instead? It would have made his situation far more relatable to all of us. Also, what's with the goofy father who shows up from time to time to hide in Sam's treehouse and complains about his responsibilities? It was like Ms. George was trying to cram some sort of agenda down our throats, showing us how toxic life is for the "working man in the city," and it didn't ring true to me, that Sam's father, in the 1950s no less, would act or talk like this with his child. And what in the hell was with all of the grown men who came to the treehouse to cuddle with 13-year-old Sam under his deer hide blankets? Was anyone other than me bothered by this? Why were these grown ass men cuddling with a boy in his forest home? It gets worse. When young Sam finds a man in the woods who appears to be running from the law, he tells the stranger: I don't know anything about you, and I don't want to. You don't know anything about me, and don't want to, but you may stay here if you like. No one is going to find you here. He basically tells this "outlaw" that they are alone, no one knows where they are, and no one will find them. The stranger responds with: “You're a sight for sore eyes.” Yeah, I'll bet he is, buddy. Um. . . maybe this was okay in 1959, but by today's standards, ain't no way I'm telling my daughters in 2021 to rub a stranger's arm in the woods and let him know that “no one is going to find you here.” (I did, instead, use this as an opportunity to tell my girls that, God forbid they ever run away to the forest and an outlaw comes along, they should take their pepper spray and spray it as close to the man's actual pupils as possible. Also, they should never forget that nails and teeth can make for excellent improvised weapons). Grumble. Grumble. Grumble. I want to love Jean Craighead George's work so badly. She was a lip gloss wearing, taxidermy loving, blue jean baby who was almost never photographed without an animal on her arm, hip or lap. In short: a goddess to me. The girls and I loved Charlie's Raven, but her other middle grades novels have disappointed me. I'm thinking I should skip the bulk of her fiction and contemplate her memoir, JOURNEY INWARD, instead. I think I'm far more interested in what she thought than what she thought kids thought.

  4. 4 out of 5

    karen

    on the other side of the hatchet/island of the blue dolphins spectrum is this book. it's not about the necessity of living in the wilderness, but more of a baby-walden choosing to live in the woods, with the pompous philosophy stripped away. it's exciting to learn about the ways people can compensate for the privations this kind of living imposes, but knowing he can, say, go to the library any time he wants to kind of undermines any tension this book could have. it's a fun read, and has several on the other side of the hatchet/island of the blue dolphins spectrum is this book. it's not about the necessity of living in the wilderness, but more of a baby-walden choosing to live in the woods, with the pompous philosophy stripped away. it's exciting to learn about the ways people can compensate for the privations this kind of living imposes, but knowing he can, say, go to the library any time he wants to kind of undermines any tension this book could have. it's a fun read, and has several useful facts and things to remember like proper ventilation when you are living in a tree trunk, and i can see how little boys would totally dig it. but what's with that ending?? i just say no to that. come to my blog!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bruno Manning

    Hey Folks! This one's for kids. You were expecting Muir? Hey Folks! This one's for kids. You were expecting Muir?

  6. 5 out of 5

    Calista

    I saw the movie as a kid in school, but I never read this book. I remember liking this story of the movie. Reading this as an adult is a bit of a weird experience. I know Jean wanted to make it possible for Sam to be able to live in the woods for a year, but let's face it, what parent or parents are going to let their kid run away and not try and find them. It's 4 months before the father comes looking to make sure he at least wouldn't freeze to death and have food. The mother doesn't do anythin I saw the movie as a kid in school, but I never read this book. I remember liking this story of the movie. Reading this as an adult is a bit of a weird experience. I know Jean wanted to make it possible for Sam to be able to live in the woods for a year, but let's face it, what parent or parents are going to let their kid run away and not try and find them. It's 4 months before the father comes looking to make sure he at least wouldn't freeze to death and have food. The mother doesn't do anything, call the police, freak out, nothing. It is not really a very natural experience. I can see the story from a kids perspective as exciting and great, but the parents should have hunted him down way soon to know that he even could live off the land without starving. Another thing, for a 12 or 13 year old boy, he really knows how to cook on a professional level. He is using advanced techniques and he knows all the wild edibles which I could see he learns that. How did he learn all these plants in NYC? Simply from a book? During the preface we learn this is Jean's wish fulfillment story from her childhood of actually running away. It's too bad she couldn't have made the character a girl back in the 50s, but I think she was afraid girls wouldn't want to read that, or boys either. I could set all these thought down and I really was engrossed in this little story of surviving in the woods on your wits. It was lovely and I loved frightful and Baron. It was a charming story, but how she got there and some other pieces of the story didn't work. I can still really enjoy this. There are amazing tips for surviving in the wilderness and I hope I remember them. You can eat cattails if you cook them and if you catch a tiny fish, you can use the intestines to catch bigger fish. Those are my big lessons that stand out. I'm glad I have now read the book and I want to read the other 2 books in the series.

  7. 5 out of 5

    J.G. Keely

    I think the best thing a survivalism book can do is help to redefine your connection to the natural world and your reliance on the human. Unfortunately, even reading this book as a child, I found it to be too fantastical to be entirely enjoyable. Though George trades in Paulsen's vomit for pleasant fancy, this book at once made me want to go out and live such a free life and convinced me that such a thing would be impossible. I read many such books as a child, and also experienced in television a I think the best thing a survivalism book can do is help to redefine your connection to the natural world and your reliance on the human. Unfortunately, even reading this book as a child, I found it to be too fantastical to be entirely enjoyable. Though George trades in Paulsen's vomit for pleasant fancy, this book at once made me want to go out and live such a free life and convinced me that such a thing would be impossible. I read many such books as a child, and also experienced in television and film the way that life was supposed to surprise you with a sudden adventure. So I took long walks. I wandered the woods alone. I called for spirits in the river. I searched the earth for baby falcons to raise. But I never found that magical friend, that spirit, that strange and mystical adventure. Hell, I never even found anyone interesting to talk to. The sad thing is that I still search, still look and hope, and every time two lifelong friends meet by chance at a brook, I feel betrayed. The fantasy of art has, even in its most minute dimensions, been betrayed by sallow mundanity. So it seems again I fall to the doom of loving and hating books. Loving the world they represent, but hate failing to find it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mimi

    Everything was white, clean, shining, and beautiful. The sky was blue, blue, blue. The hemlock grove was laced with snow, the meadow was smooth and white, and the gorge was sparkling with ice. It was so beautiful and peaceful that I laughed out loud. I guess I laughed because my first snowstorm was over and it had not been so terrible after all. My Side of the Mountain, written by Jean Craighead George in 1959, is a survivalist story about a boy who runs away from home to live in the Catskill Mo Everything was white, clean, shining, and beautiful. The sky was blue, blue, blue. The hemlock grove was laced with snow, the meadow was smooth and white, and the gorge was sparkling with ice. It was so beautiful and peaceful that I laughed out loud. I guess I laughed because my first snowstorm was over and it had not been so terrible after all. My Side of the Mountain, written by Jean Craighead George in 1959, is a survivalist story about a boy who runs away from home to live in the Catskill Mountains, and he not only survives but thrives in the wilderness. The story begins with Sam Gribley already in the mountains preparing his humble tree abode for the first snowstorm. He discusses in detail some of the challenges he's faced so far and his fear of the storm and not knowing what will happen after. Then gradually, he talks about his life in New York, his family, and how he came to the Catskills. It's not hard to see why this book won so many literary awards and has been a staple on reading lists for children ever since it was published. The writing is clear and descriptive, the adventures are fun and fascinating, Sam is a likable character who adapts easily to the wilderness, and various supporting characters are hilarious. They add much needed comedic relief to Sam's narration. This book was and still is a very special book to me. It introduced me to the beauty of the natural world and made me appreciate nature and wildlife. I had only seen the Catskills in pictures at that point, but Jean Craighead George’s sweeping descriptions breathed life into those mountains. The sky and trees and streams and even the grass came to life right before my eyes, and everything about the wilderness was just so beautiful, so full of color and life. Review at https://covers2covers.wordpress.com/2...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ramona

    i really enjoyed this book. this young boy goes out on his own and uses his skill to survive. what i really liked is the fact that he WANTED to, where as, most books, he would have been lost, or forgotten. and if you liked this,you should read "hatchet" i really enjoyed this book. this young boy goes out on his own and uses his skill to survive. what i really liked is the fact that he WANTED to, where as, most books, he would have been lost, or forgotten. and if you liked this,you should read "hatchet"

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ellinor

    I don't understand why this book received so many awards. I thought it was so completely unrealistic. The book is about a boy who runs away from home and decides to live in the woods on his own. Now I have read and enjoyed books of people living in the wilderness. Hatchet by Gary Paulson was one of the best books I read last year. The difference between those two is that in Hatchet the boy is forced to live and survive in the wilderness because of a plane crash. In this book however the boy decid I don't understand why this book received so many awards. I thought it was so completely unrealistic. The book is about a boy who runs away from home and decides to live in the woods on his own. Now I have read and enjoyed books of people living in the wilderness. Hatchet by Gary Paulson was one of the best books I read last year. The difference between those two is that in Hatchet the boy is forced to live and survive in the wilderness because of a plane crash. In this book however the boy decides to live and survive in the wilderness. This would be alright if it was just a kid's crazy dream. But the strange and absolutely unrealistic thing is that nobody seems to bother. People know that there is a boy living in the woods but nobody cares about it. The boy's father even comes into the forest to stay with him over Christmas and leaves again afterwards without taking his son home! In the book it is not said how old the boy is. He could be anything from 10 to 17. If he is 17 I could understand that other people wouldn't care so much about him living alone in the woods. But one should think that his parents would be really worried anyway. All this bothered me so much that I didn't really care about the rest of the story anymore.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Wanda

    ***Wanda’s Summer Carnival of Children’s Literature*** This was one on my favourite novels as a youngster and it was a pleasure to revisit it. It is a completely unrealistic fantasy about a young boy who runs away to the ancestral land in the Catskills mountains and who proceeds to learn how to live off the land for a whole year. First let’s point out the obviously unreasonable plot points—a young boy runs away from a large New York family and no one comes after him. Not until Christmas, several m ***Wanda’s Summer Carnival of Children’s Literature*** This was one on my favourite novels as a youngster and it was a pleasure to revisit it. It is a completely unrealistic fantasy about a young boy who runs away to the ancestral land in the Catskills mountains and who proceeds to learn how to live off the land for a whole year. First let’s point out the obviously unreasonable plot points—a young boy runs away from a large New York family and no one comes after him. Not until Christmas, several months into the adventure, does his father show up to see what he’s doing. Adults along the way help him to get there and keep his secret instead of turning him in. No matter how successful his venture, they should have been intent on returning him to his family and getting him back in school. Sam is very much a Gary Stu character. He is able to train a falcon by reading about it in a book, seems to be surrounded by careless hunters who helpfully “lose” deer that they have shot, and has more of a taste for cat tail roots and flower bulbs than most young men of my acquaintance. Despite all of those fantasy elements (or maybe because of them) I really got into this book as a kid. I loved the idea of living in a tree, of having a falcon as a companion, learning to live with friendly racoons and weasels. I was a farm child, so I could at least experience the local wildlife (weasels, ground squirrels, hares) somewhat like Sam, and that was enough for me. This book really spoke to my early love of nature. I don’t think I ever thought of it as a “how to” guide, I recognized the fantasy aspect. (And I think that most children do recognize the fantastic elements of things, whether adults give them credit for it or not).

  12. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    By today's reckoning, this book is terribly implausible to the point of silliness. A young teenager from NYC runs away to the woods in only the clothes he stands up in, and embarks on a year of living off the land and self-discovery. 1) His wilderness skills make him a combination of a SAS operative and a Hudson's Bay fur trapper, on the strength of reading a few library books. He is never freezing, wet, sunburned, injured, plagued by poison ivy or insects, but instead becomes an accomplished fa By today's reckoning, this book is terribly implausible to the point of silliness. A young teenager from NYC runs away to the woods in only the clothes he stands up in, and embarks on a year of living off the land and self-discovery. 1) His wilderness skills make him a combination of a SAS operative and a Hudson's Bay fur trapper, on the strength of reading a few library books. He is never freezing, wet, sunburned, injured, plagued by poison ivy or insects, but instead becomes an accomplished falconer and a gourmet chef who can whip up cosmopolitan meals for four in a bowl fashioned from a leaf. Even tapping trees and making maple syrup over a campfire doesn't elude this boy. Conveniently, he never runs across a really threatening animal, like a bear or a bobcat or a wolverine. And he can pop down to the library in his deerskins whenever the mood strikes him. 2) A teenaged runaway in pre-Amber Alert times, he leaves a blazing trail behind himself. He tells several people his name and exactly where he's going. Nowadays it would take a search party roughly two hours to find him. But in the adventurous '50s, his parents just say to each other, "he'll be back when he gets hungry", light another smoke and pour another Old Fashioned. 3) When this book was written, the current leave-no-trace wilderness ethic was unknown. Making bough beds, chopping down limbs, burning out trees, setting snares and figure-four deadfall traps, nest-robbing from birds of prey, and feeding wildlife are just woodsy activities. Long before a year was up, this kid would have used every scrap of available firewood in a 20 km radius. 4) The ending is ridiculous, so fanciful, sad and obvious that it could have been written by a lonely child wasting away in an orphanage. And I *almost* made it to the last page before the inevitable 1950s female stereotype arrived like a scheduled city bus!! Now, with all that said, here's why this book is wonderful: 1) It shines with a deep love for the outdoors, demonstrates respect and kindness and patience for animals, and the wonder of a child's new independence. It suggests that living one's life as a truthful and sincere example can bring others around to a way of thinking, in a way that words could never do. Had I read this book when I was twelve, I would have thought it absolutely magical. Maybe it's nothing like reality, but it has probably made generations of kids want to be outdoors and perhaps a bit more motivated to learn new things. 2) It's inspiring in the way that old kids' books always used to be. Kids in those days did stuff like Scouting and got into schoolyard fights. They were expected to work hard and take responsibility for themselves. They read adventure books like this, which taught that being tough and self-reliant was expected, and that with enough initiative, gumption (an almost extinct word) and persistence, they could do anything. Like go to the moon, for instance. Nowadays most kids in the same circumstances would go to pieces in ten minutes.

  13. 5 out of 5

    WhatIReallyRead

    My Side of the Mountain follows the story of Sam Gribley - a young boy who decided to run away from his home in New York and his big family and go live in the wilderness. He lives off the land, learns how to survive, finds friends among animals, etc. The author was pretty specific in terms of describing the details of making fishhooks out of twigs, etc. The book wasn't particularly plot driven. Sam hides from people initially, but in time begins to cherish the occasional encounters with hikers, My Side of the Mountain follows the story of Sam Gribley - a young boy who decided to run away from his home in New York and his big family and go live in the wilderness. He lives off the land, learns how to survive, finds friends among animals, etc. The author was pretty specific in terms of describing the details of making fishhooks out of twigs, etc. The book wasn't particularly plot driven. Sam hides from people initially, but in time begins to cherish the occasional encounters with hikers, etc. The ending was really touching and heart-warming. This was a cute little book with the author's own black-and-white sketches.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kailey (Luminous Libro)

    I am certainly not an outdoorsy person, but I loved this book so much! What an adventure to live off the land all alone in the woods! The writing is charming, Sam's character is full of pluck and resourcefulness, and I was completely involved in every little woodsy adventure. The author is a master at bringing an emotion to the forefront of the story with just a few simple words, and making the reader care desperately what happens next. The story flows from one chapter to the next as Sam settles I am certainly not an outdoorsy person, but I loved this book so much! What an adventure to live off the land all alone in the woods! The writing is charming, Sam's character is full of pluck and resourcefulness, and I was completely involved in every little woodsy adventure. The author is a master at bringing an emotion to the forefront of the story with just a few simple words, and making the reader care desperately what happens next. The story flows from one chapter to the next as Sam settles into his new wilderness life and learns how to survive independently. The best parts were when Sam interacted with other humans. His emotions run very high then, either wanting them to go away, or being confused about his own need for human contact and conversation. There is the fear of discovery, that he will be forced back into society, but also the fear of being alone for too long. I love how Sam makes his own society though, with the creatures of the forest. I loved this book from start to finish! Just brilliant, beautiful writing!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh......... Why do they make so many survival stories for children, and then force us to read them in school? There are so many other wonderful genres that are not about overcoming the elements and proving to yourself that you can accomplish anything. I would argue that the same message can be found in a lot of literature that doesn't require me to read about how some kid survived in the woods for X amount of years/months/whatever. I can't even remember the particular details of thi Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh......... Why do they make so many survival stories for children, and then force us to read them in school? There are so many other wonderful genres that are not about overcoming the elements and proving to yourself that you can accomplish anything. I would argue that the same message can be found in a lot of literature that doesn't require me to read about how some kid survived in the woods for X amount of years/months/whatever. I can't even remember the particular details of this novel, but I'm positive I read it. The second I saw the name and the author I cringed. I have no doubt that even within this genre, there are superior novels. I've read them. "Hatchet" springs to mind, and if you've read my review of "Hatchet", that's not saying much. PLEASE, if you are a teacher and you are thinking of teaching this book, RECONSIDER! There are so many novels out there, you can surely pass on this one and spare the children. PLEASE SPARE THE CHILDREN!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bob Mayer

    I read this as a kid and it fired my imagination. I think it touches on a desire deep inside of many children to escape to a place where they rule their own destiny. One of the books the shaped me as a writer years later.

  17. 5 out of 5

    The other John

    This book struck me as being like a dramatization of the Boy Scout Manual. (Not that I ever read the Boy Scout Manual--I washed out after the first year of Cub Scouts.) It's the tale of young Sam Gribley, a New York City lad who runs away to his ancestral lands in the Catskill Mountains and starts to live off the land. He describes all his methods of obtaining food, shelter and clothing, equipped only with a penknife, a ball of cord, an ax, some flint and steel and $40. On one hand, all the surv This book struck me as being like a dramatization of the Boy Scout Manual. (Not that I ever read the Boy Scout Manual--I washed out after the first year of Cub Scouts.) It's the tale of young Sam Gribley, a New York City lad who runs away to his ancestral lands in the Catskill Mountains and starts to live off the land. He describes all his methods of obtaining food, shelter and clothing, equipped only with a penknife, a ball of cord, an ax, some flint and steel and $40. On one hand, all the survivalist trivia is interesting, but as far as the story goes, it's pretty weak. Sam is extremely capable for a city boy and manages to get just the right breaks to enable him to survive to the end of the book. That ending is rather disappointing. To me, it seemed that the plot did a U-turn and ended in failure. Other readers may disagree. They can go write their own review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Shiloah

    Wow. Impressive. The knowledge of living off the land from nothing that went into this book is astounding. As a child, I always wanted to live in nature. I would never have survived like Sam. But, it's a great dream. I wished I had read this book as a child. Wow. Impressive. The knowledge of living off the land from nothing that went into this book is astounding. As a child, I always wanted to live in nature. I would never have survived like Sam. But, it's a great dream. I wished I had read this book as a child.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jerrit 811

    Jerrit Schramm 2-2-09 8-1 My Side of the Mountain The story “My Side of the Mountain” is, of the most part, one of those classic stories about wilderness survival. The main character, Sam Gribley is your average teenage boy who has big dreams and a wild imagination. The story starts out when a teenage boy living in New York City isn’t very happy about living in the city. He had a plan to run away to the Catskill Mountains but it never really got off the ground. But after a day gone badly, he decides Jerrit Schramm 2-2-09 8-1 My Side of the Mountain The story “My Side of the Mountain” is, of the most part, one of those classic stories about wilderness survival. The main character, Sam Gribley is your average teenage boy who has big dreams and a wild imagination. The story starts out when a teenage boy living in New York City isn’t very happy about living in the city. He had a plan to run away to the Catskill Mountains but it never really got off the ground. But after a day gone badly, he decides its time to leave the bustling city life for a more peaceful life in the mountains. With only a pocketknife, a ball of cord, forty dollars, and some flint and steel, he plans on living by himself and off the land. After arriving in the mountains, he finds that it is way different and more difficult than he imagined. Even though he has a large shelter made out of a dead oak, its still way more difficult to survive, that Is until deer season comes along. When deer season first starts, it’s just another thing that happens until a wounded deer dies almost right next to his shelter and hee decides to hide the wounded deer. “But deer season only comes once a year”, he thought to himself, “What am I going to do the other portion of the year.” But soon after, he meets an animal that will soon become his friend that will help his survival expedition worth while and a whole lot easier. If this review contained anything more, the entire story would be ruined. When it all comes down to it, this story is perfect for those who love suspense in a survival reality book. The genre of this book is a little confusing because it’s a fiction because of the characters but at the same times its nonfiction because it demonstrates survival techniques that could be useful. I rated the book a five because this was one of my favorite books that I’ve ever read just because I love books on survival or about the wild.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Teri-K

    This is the first "real" book my son read, all on his own, without "having" to read anything. I still remember the day I walked into the living room and saw my reluctant reader curled up in the big chair devouring this book. I grinned and backed out of the room so as not to disturb him. (He now enjoys reading quite a lot. And remembers MSOTM fondly.) I recently took my 8 year-old grandson and a 9 year-old "niece" to the bookstore and turned them loose with a budget for each of them to choose boo This is the first "real" book my son read, all on his own, without "having" to read anything. I still remember the day I walked into the living room and saw my reluctant reader curled up in the big chair devouring this book. I grinned and backed out of the room so as not to disturb him. (He now enjoys reading quite a lot. And remembers MSOTM fondly.) I recently took my 8 year-old grandson and a 9 year-old "niece" to the bookstore and turned them loose with a budget for each of them to choose books. The only requirement was they had to sit down and read at least four pages before choosing or rejecting a book. They roamed shelves and read while I picked a few out to add to their "To Try" piles. When I handed this one to my grandson I told him it was his Dad's favorite book as a boy. He ended up reading about 12 pages before we left the store. His Dad was tickled to see him bring it home and Grandson started reading it during his required 30 minutes a day. Every couple of days he'd tell us what was happening. Yesterday while we waited for the bus he grabbed it - not "reading time" - and finished it. He was so excited to get it completed! This from a boy who never chooses to read if it's not required. :) You can read about the plot of this book many places. What you may not get otherwise is how this book grabs the imagination of certain kids, even reluctant readers, and pulls them into its story. Perhaps especially kids who would rather be outside digging or making something or playing ball than reading. And it's the perfect book for reading in a hammock under a tree on a warm summer day, as my Grandson will attest. I plan on rereading it soon myself; as soon as I can get it away from my son, that is. :)

  21. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    As an adult, I'd give this 4 stars, but let's be honest. This book is designed for kids in mind, and with that audience, this is definitely a solid book perfectly suited to a young reader's tastes, abilities and expectations. My son is an avid reader and I picked up this book after he was finished as I like to know what types of books he is reading and enjoys. Well, I got sucked in and found myself a third of the way through in no time. Appealing to a sense of adventure lost amongst today's electr As an adult, I'd give this 4 stars, but let's be honest. This book is designed for kids in mind, and with that audience, this is definitely a solid book perfectly suited to a young reader's tastes, abilities and expectations. My son is an avid reader and I picked up this book after he was finished as I like to know what types of books he is reading and enjoys. Well, I got sucked in and found myself a third of the way through in no time. Appealing to a sense of adventure lost amongst today's electronics savvy kids, this book might even spark a little interest in nature. Living off the land, away from people is a rare talent now and one might need to travel far to find a forest capable of giving the same experience. But isn't that what books are for? Providing the adventure and tickling the imagination from our comfy reading chairs.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Margulis

    My 9-year-old son and I read this book together and now we are writing a review. He thought the book was really good, and so did I. "It was pretty cool how he got a falcon," my son says. It's exciting and fascinating to read the adventures of feisty, live-off-the-land Sam Gribley, who fulfills his boyhood dream of running away from his crowded New York City family life. He lives in a hollowed out hemlock, uses turtle shells for bowls, and digs tubers from the ground, catches fish in the stream, My 9-year-old son and I read this book together and now we are writing a review. He thought the book was really good, and so did I. "It was pretty cool how he got a falcon," my son says. It's exciting and fascinating to read the adventures of feisty, live-off-the-land Sam Gribley, who fulfills his boyhood dream of running away from his crowded New York City family life. He lives in a hollowed out hemlock, uses turtle shells for bowls, and digs tubers from the ground, catches fish in the stream, and whittles his own silverware. We give this book between four and five stars, though there's no button for that. It was first published in 1959 but is a book that is as readable today as it was over 50 years ago.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Hailey Crabtree

    I didn't care for this book that much at all! I wasn't paying attention at some of the parts because I got bored of it really easily. It seemed weird that he was lost in the woods but there was an old women picking strawberries right near him. I also didn't like the ending and how his parents told him what was going to happen and he couldn't do anything about it. Overall I didn't like this book and I probably wont read the second one. I didn't care for this book that much at all! I wasn't paying attention at some of the parts because I got bored of it really easily. It seemed weird that he was lost in the woods but there was an old women picking strawberries right near him. I also didn't like the ending and how his parents told him what was going to happen and he couldn't do anything about it. Overall I didn't like this book and I probably wont read the second one.

  24. 4 out of 5

    أبو اليَمان

    This book was my first book, the start of the reading journey...I liked it very much...and I saw the movie later... it was beautiful too...but I think it's not for kids. This book was my first book, the start of the reading journey...I liked it very much...and I saw the movie later... it was beautiful too...but I think it's not for kids.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    So many mixed feelings about this book. We had a copy of My Side of the Mountain (this edition with the movie-still cover) which I read multiple times as a child. Although it wasn't an absolute favorite, it was a book that I lived. My neighborhood was firmly suburban, which made living off the land a little tricky, but we had a small wooded plot of land next to our house ("the woods") in which I would periodically build "houses" by propping up large fallen branches against a tree trunk and interw So many mixed feelings about this book. We had a copy of My Side of the Mountain (this edition with the movie-still cover) which I read multiple times as a child. Although it wasn't an absolute favorite, it was a book that I lived. My neighborhood was firmly suburban, which made living off the land a little tricky, but we had a small wooded plot of land next to our house ("the woods") in which I would periodically build "houses" by propping up large fallen branches against a tree trunk and interweaving twigs between them and stuffing the cracks with dry leaves. I also wove "baskets" from the stalks of some kind of plant (my baskets were very shallow, and were held together at the four corners with rubber bands). I filled these with acorns. Just like Sam Gribley I would sit outside my tree and grind acorns into flour between two stones, but after one attempt at eating them, I didn't try again, although apparently there are ways to leach the bitterness out. Although I accepted everything about the premise uncritically (why shouldn't it be easy, and even pleasant to spend a winter living in a hollow tree in the mountains, if the author assures me it is?), I do remember feeling annoyed at the ending, which, young though I was, I perceived as sexist. (view spoiler)[In the very rushed last chapter, Sam is joined by his parents and seven siblings who've come to live on the mountain -- the crowd he left home to escape. He takes his brothers falcon hunting, but not his sisters. Sam is surprised when he learns that his mother -- a complete non-character, who is never given a line -- insists on living in a house. "Your mother said she was going to give you a decent home," Dad says, "and in her way of looking at it, that means a roof and doors." Ah yes, stifling female domesticity. (hide spoiler)] Perhaps that's part of why I stopped rereading the book at some point, maybe age 12 or so, whereas many other childhood favorites remained perennial rereads. So I read it aloud to my son, who's been complaining lately that girls are always better than boys in books -- I thought this one would be nice and bracing for him. What a difference 30 years makes. I just could not suspend my disbelief that a boy could run away, live alone in the wilderness for over a year, and so many adults, including, eventually, his parents, would be completely okay with that. Everyone: a truck driver who gives him a lift (nothing worrisome about that in a children's book from 1959, of course), a librarian who knows all about what Sam is doing, an English professor he meets hiking in the woods, just thinks "oh kids, will be kids" and no one dreams of alerting the authorities, and apparently no one feels the tiniest pang of concern for his safety, only admiration of his wood-lore. The forest rangers, who at one point are aware of his presence, are utterly incompetent or negligent, as despite having seen his camp-site/home, they never bother returning there, even when Sam's "wild-boy" lifestyle becomes national news. Sam, meanwhile, never gives a thought to the worry he must be causing his parents -- perhaps because, judging from the evidence of the text, they never were worried. Another issue is that Sam is something of a Mary-Sue when it comes to living off the land. Every sort of food that he knows is good to eat, he finds. Everything he attempts to build or do works. Capturing and training a wild falcon? No problem. He makes a home in a hollow tree, which he burns out to enlarge the space. At one point in the story, it sleeps three, two of them adult men, so I'm visualizing it as being at least 7 feet in diameter. This ancient tree which was already starting to rot, and whose demise he has hastened, naturally survives a massive ice storm in the winter in which all day long the air is filled with the explosive sounds of one tree after another crashes down under the weight of an ice layer several inches thick. At one point he mentions, casually, chopping down an oak tree so that he can use its hollowed out stump as a vat in which to soften a deer hide. Apparently chopping down a tree that big with a small hand axe (presumably) is one of those easy little jobs that only warrants half a sentence. He doesn't die of hypothermia when caught out in a blizzard, because he was protected from the snow by a ledge - Whew! But despite all this, enough of the book had embedded itself into my being in my formative years, that I still responded the story, and my son, who is as unlike Sam Gibley as any boy could possibly be, enjoyed it unreservedly, and didn't even express outrage and disgust when Sam tries eating bugs at one point (he normally has very strong feelings on this subject). What I can't figure out is if Jean Craighead George knew that certain aspect of the story are unrealistic, and if she was conscious that it lacks the emotional depth that would make Sam's siblings and mother something other than cardboard cut-outs. I never read the two sequels, which were published in my twenties, but glancing through the reviews here, they seem to have a different tone, so maybe if she didn't realize it at the time, she came to later. As I'm writing this, my son is watching the movie, from 1969, which he was thrilled to find at our library the other day. Listening to snatches of it as I type, I'm surprised that the movie-makers didn't make more changes, but one that they did make is awful. My favorite character (view spoiler)[ Frightful, shot by a hunter (hide spoiler)] dies! Eek! How could they do that!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    I did enjoy this book. It was a quick read. Right now my students are reading action/adventure/western literature. I joined in. With the exception of the transcendentalists, wilderness/mountain books are not my favorite. I did like some of the descriptions, but the book just seemed so improbable. Maybe I am subconsciously jealous of Sam: I always wanted to run away, but always came home for dinner.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Linder

    Read this so long ago I can't really remember everything. I think I liked it! :) Read this so long ago I can't really remember everything. I think I liked it! :)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Anndromeda (Just book updates for a time)

    I’ve always liked survival books, and this one was a calm and thoughtful one. I liked it quite a bit.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I really admire stories of people being resourceful and figuring out ways to do things like store food, build a home, and even make clothes. It does seem pretty unbelievable to me that Sam Gribley's parents would have said, "Sure, go hitchhike your way to our family land in the Catskills and live off the land. Have fun!" But... it was the '50s. Perhaps it could have happened. That's far harder for me to believe than that a resourceful boy could learn enough from books that he could live in the w I really admire stories of people being resourceful and figuring out ways to do things like store food, build a home, and even make clothes. It does seem pretty unbelievable to me that Sam Gribley's parents would have said, "Sure, go hitchhike your way to our family land in the Catskills and live off the land. Have fun!" But... it was the '50s. Perhaps it could have happened. That's far harder for me to believe than that a resourceful boy could learn enough from books that he could live in the wilderness just fine. I read this book over and over and over as a kid. Between it and The Black Stallion by Walter Farley, I also spent a huge amount of time imagining I was living alone in the wilderness and surviving off the land. Well, now I've read it as an adult, and I have to say... it still sounds like a pretty idyllic lifestyle.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ben Davis

    My Side of the Mountain is about a boy named Sam Gribley who ran away from his home because he thought that he was kind of left out with his 8 other brothers and sisters. Also his dad told him that every boy should run away at some point. When Sam told his dad that he was going to find the Gribley farm his dad thought he would not even be able to find the land. In fact Sam did find the place he was looking for and he planned to survive there. Sam meets many people as he is surviving out in the My Side of the Mountain is about a boy named Sam Gribley who ran away from his home because he thought that he was kind of left out with his 8 other brothers and sisters. Also his dad told him that every boy should run away at some point. When Sam told his dad that he was going to find the Gribley farm his dad thought he would not even be able to find the land. In fact Sam did find the place he was looking for and he planned to survive there. Sam meets many people as he is surviving out in the wild. Some, he thought, were going to give away his secret about surviving in the wilderness and one lady did, that he met while she was picking berries. The author tells you how Sam tries to survive in the wild alone and how and what he does to do that. The ending is very quick and sudden, but it all works out for Sam in the end. I liked My Side of the Mountain because it was a very descriptive, adventurous book. It explains so well how he survived in the wild and what he had to do to achieve just that. My favorite part was when he was first learning how to survive in the beggining of the book. In that part instead of the author just telling you what he did as the author did through the rest of the book, he learned from all of his mistakes and made them better throughout the book.

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