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My Side of the Mountain (Mountain, #1)
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My Side of the Mountain (Mountain #1)

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  47,289 Ratings  ·  2,194 Reviews
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 ...more
177 pages
Published (first published 1959)
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Carrie I read this book aloud at bedtime to my 5 and 7 year old and they enjoyed it very much.
Jane Mclean He explains it in "I Get Started in this Venture." He took the train from New York City, where he lived, headed north to the Catskill Mountains in…moreHe explains it in "I Get Started in this Venture." He took the train from New York City, where he lived, headed north to the Catskill Mountains in Upstate NY, hitchhiked and walked until he came to the old family property.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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 ...more
karen
Jun 28, 2009 karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kiddiwinx
on the other side of the hatchet/island of the blue dolphins spectrum is this book. its 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. its 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. its a fun read, and has several use ...more
Bruno Manning
Mar 05, 2009 Bruno Manning rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hey Folks! This one's for kids. You were expecting Muir?
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
...more
Ramona
Oct 11, 2008 Ramona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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"
Mimi
Jun 22, 2015 Mimi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who didn't read it growing up
Recommended to Mimi by: school librarian
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 abouta boywho runs away from home to live in the Catskill Moun
...more
Steph
Jan 21, 2009 Steph rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I read this book several times in elementary school. I lived and died on the advice of the school's librarian, and she had convinced me to read every Newberry award winner in the library. I felt like I was reading something important every time I did.

Who doesn't want to run away sometime in their life? That's not the aspect of the book that most drew me, but what a great a way to start the story. I doubt I had many survival skills under my belt when I read the book, but heaven knows I wished I
...more
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
...more
Jerrit 811
Feb 02, 2009 Jerrit 811 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
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
...more
Adam
Nov 24, 2009 Adam rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: idiots
Recommended to Adam by: some teacher
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
...more
Gretchen
Jun 25, 2009 Gretchen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book a long time ago when I was younger. I decided to read it again to refresh my memory of this story. I wanted to see if I could use it in my classroom. It is an amazing story about a young boy who runs away and makes a life on a mountain. It is impressive how smart he is and is able to use natural resources from the land to survive. It just shows how much we take for granted and what a huge importance nature is. I cannot believe that people used to live that way. It proves that we ...more
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, ...more
Liz
Nov 09, 2011 Liz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Kailey
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
...more
Ben Davis
Apr 11, 2011 Ben Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
The other John
Mar 14, 2011 The other John rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: schoolbook
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 ...more
Laura Verret
This book is almost a joke after reading Robinson Crusoe. Sam decides he wants a shovel, so he whittles one with his pocket knife. He needs bowls, so he promptly finds a vast reservoir of clay, builds an oven (!?!) and and bakes the clay in the shape of bowls. He builds traps big enough to catch deer (!?!) and never knows a hungry moment (except on the first day). Compare this to Robinson Crusoe who reports with painstaking detail the HOURS of back-breaking work it takes to manufacture the simpl ...more
gummy bear ( Brianna S)
1. When Sam held frightful and he listens to her little heartbeat. I like that passage because its meaningful and was special. I also like the description.
2. 1. Why did Sam runaway in the first place? 2. Why did Sam live in a tree and not a cave? 3. When Sam’s family comes to the woods why doesn’t Sam hide?
3. This book is about survival and another book I have read was warriors and that is about living out in the wild too.
4. it was amazing with the details and drawings .I liked this book bec
...more
Rachel
Jun 04, 2013 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A classic of young-adult literature, this is a tale of self-reliance and wilderness survival that is almost unfathomable today: Sam, a 12-year old New York City boy living in a small apartment with many siblings, decides to run away and live in the Catskills. By himself. With his father's permission. Even in 1959, when the book was published, a 12-year-old kid was more self-reliant and capable than today's 12-year-old. By modern standards, Sam's dad was highly irresponsible, but in the context o ...more
Jacqueline
Oct 10, 2010 Jacqueline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this all the way through in one sitting. I realize that it's only about 165 pages or so, but that's still not something I do quite often.

As a woman who's spent quite a bit of time outside and isn't afraid of the outdoors, I found this to be a very interesting read. It's about a boy who runs away from home to live in the wilderness - and he succeeds. I have friends who 'live off the land,' without running water, without electricity, without plumbing, but this beats all that in a way that I
...more
Paradoxical
The nice thing about nostalgia is that when you look back, all of the books you read were great, you loved them all, and you never had any problems with reading any of them. Err, at least for me, anyway. Which usually means once you reread it you sort of just stare at the book in your hands and go, "This is different from what I remember." For me, My Side of the Mountain did exactly that.

I remember being excited about reading the book, but now I read it and go, "This is pretty choppy." It's stra
...more
Christy
Mar 14, 2009 Christy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Christy by: The Bentley Family
Young Sam Gribley leaves his family’s crowded Manhattan apartment and goes to live “off the land” in the wild Catskill mountains. And why, exactly, is that OK with his parents? Well, they have eight other children, so what’s one boy more or less? That seems to be the logic. Sam makes a home for himself in an old tree, trains a falcon to hunt for him, makes friends with a weasel and a coon, and learns to eat nuts, berries, and other wild foods. It’s all lots of fun. At first he’s afraid of being ...more
Lekeshua
May 23, 2016 Lekeshua rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
Love, love, love this book. If I was to be stranded, this would be a great resource. Glad to share this book with my son and look forward to sharing it with my daughter when the time comes. Now I understand why my son's sudden interest in having a pet falcon. I look forward to foraging and observing nature better on our hikes.
Colleen Houck
I read this in school and was inspired by the bravery of the boy living all alone. It reminds me a little of the Tom Hanks movie Castaway.
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
...more
Arista
Jun 29, 2016 Arista rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I only made it to page twenty-nine before I gave up reading this book entirely. I have no idea why it's a beloved children's classic. Not only is it about 85% unrealistic, it's also 100% boring. I have no idea what prompted this book to be a bestseller. I tried reading it from the perspective of a young man who absolutely hates his home life, and I still couldn't make it.

I feel awful about awarding this precious book a little one-star review, but I honestly can't justify offering it any more th
...more
Reza Abolfazl
Mar 30, 2015 Reza Abolfazl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a fascinating tale about a journey from pessimism and doubt to courage, confidence and fulfillment, all in a background of most realistic yet magical scene on nature. story of a boy who's fed up with cramped city life in new York and sets forward deep into the mountains. the story takes you along with the protagonist to a fight for survival, doubts about decisions taken and paths chosen and then happiness that comes from being able to do what you set your mind too.
i read this book in translated
...more
Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
I read this a long time ago. I used to be really interested in the idea of surviving in the wild with very few tools, etc. This book was a great read for a young person with such interests. There are some very beautiful ideas embedded within the straight forward prose (this is a "young adult" book so it's not going to be too complex in style by definition)--beautiful, simple notions about what it means to be human and to be a part of the natural processes that keep the world turning, ideas about ...more
Malan
Apr 27, 2015 Malan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful meditation on the virtues of man (boy) becoming one with nature.

Devoid of politics, religion, sex, violence, and other controversial, disturbing topics. A quiet reflection on what nature can offer us, and how many of us have forgotten that.
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The Newbery Award...: My Side of the Mountain 2 5 Jun 18, 2016 10:12AM  
RDG 4402 Spring 2016: Trade Book 2 1 2 Apr 24, 2016 07:11PM  
Trade Book 1- My Side of the Mountain 2 11 Mar 22, 2016 09:17AM  
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Jean Craighead George wrote over eighty popular books for young adults, including the Newbery Medal-winning Julie of the Wolves and the Newbery Honor book My Side of the Mountain. Most of her books deal with topics related to the environment and the natural world. While she mostly wrote children's fiction, she also wrote at least two guides to cooking with wild foods, and an autobiography, Journey ...more
More about Jean Craighead George...

Other Books in the Series

Mountain (3 books)
  • On the Far Side of the Mountain (Mountain, #2)
  • Frightful's Mountain (Mountain, #3)

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“Be you writer or reader, it is very pleasant to run away in a book.” 1423 likes
“Fortunately, the sun has a wonderfully glorious habit of rising every morning” 23 likes
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