Series: Mountain #1
Also in this series: On the Far Side of the Mountain, Frightful's Mountain
on May 21st 2001
Genres: Middle Grade, Young Adult
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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 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.
This book is definitely a book I would take with me if I ever wanted to survive in the wild. It’s basically a wilderness survival manual, along with Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Swiss Family Robinson, and others (I’m going to make a Favorites Friday post on these). I LOVED it. It seemed so real, so possible, and endearing and heartwarming. It inspired me to explore the woods around my own house and perhaps build a little house there as well!
Bando: I did so like Bando, as Sam’s first friend. The whistles were a really good idea. I would have done exactly as he did, spending vacations up there with Sam.
Matt: A nice reporter boy, thankfully not the type to ruin everything for Sam.
Aaron: Also nice and surprisingly not inquisitive.
Dad: Surprisingly supportive! He didn’t seem disappointed at all that Sam was living just fine without his family. Also his mother- mine certainly wouldn’t have been so okay with it all.
Frightful, Jessie Coon James, The Baron Weasel, and the rest: quite a happy bunch of wood-dwellers. They all had such character, and yet were believably real too. It wasn’t quite Disney, but it seemed so safe…I’m surprised Sam didn’t meet a mountain lion or bear or something more dangerous up there.