My Side of the Mountain

In the thick of children’s adventure stories, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Sam Gribley sets out from NYC to run away from home and inhabit his great-grandfather’s land in the Catskills. His dad thinks he’ll be back the next day, but Sam lasts a year in the wilderness, skinning deer hide for a door to his hollowed out tree home, making fur clothes to keep him warm in the midst of snowstorm and ice storms. He scoops a baby falcon from her nest and trains it to hunt rabbit and other game. Deeply knowledgeable about survival in the forest, Sam knows which plants to eat (or to watch what the other animals are eating), how to make salt from hickory bark, how to preserve meat through winter, how to make a chimney in his tree home, a needle to sew his clothes, forks, etc. Sam also enlists a bit of help from the librarian in town (the librarian a common figure in kids’ books– the backstage hero urging them on with information and books), who also gives him a haircut when he straggles back for more information after a few months in the wild. Great detailed survival skills, a DIY book for the intrepid traveller. Good for all ages!