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

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  49,208 Ratings  ·  2,351 Reviews
Terribly unhappy in his family's crowded New York City apartment, Sam Gribley runs away to the solitude and danger of the mountains, where he finds a side of himself he never knew.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 12th 2004 by Puffin Books (first published 1959)
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Sandi It's a wholesome story that will appeal those who have imagined living ang surviving in the wilderness. It would suit most readers 7 and up.
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)

Community Reviews

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Jessica C.
Jun 18, 2012 Jessica C. rated it really liked it
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
Jun 28, 2009 karen rated it liked it
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
Oct 11, 2008 Ramona rated it it was amazing
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"
Jul 23, 2013 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 about a boy who runs away from home to live in the Catskill Mo
Jan 21, 2009 Steph rated it it was amazing
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
***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
Jerrit 811
Feb 01, 2009 Jerrit 811 rated it it was amazing
Jerrit Schramm
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
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
Willowy Whisper
Oct 11, 2016 Willowy Whisper rated it really liked it
Read this so long ago I can't really remember everything. I think I liked it! :)
Nov 24, 2009 Adam rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: idiots
Recommended to Adam by: some teacher

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
Jennifer Margulis
Sep 12, 2013 Jennifer Margulis rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 20, 2008 Liz rated it liked it
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.
Hailey Crabtree
Mar 14, 2017 Hailey Crabtree rated it it was ok
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.
Ben Davis
Apr 11, 2011 Ben Davis rated it really liked it
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
Kailey (BooksforMKs)
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
Feb 16, 2009 Gretchen rated it really liked it
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
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
Jun 04, 2013 Rachel rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 10, 2010 Jacqueline rated it really liked it
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
The other John
Dec 16, 2008 The other John rated it did not like it
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
I Am
Mar 14, 2017 I Am rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Mar 14, 2009 Christy rated it really liked it
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
May 23, 2016 Lekeshua rated it it was amazing
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.
Leah H.
Mar 14, 2017 Leah H. rated it liked it
I honestly wasn't very fond of this book, and my proper rating would probably be a 2.5. Where as the storyline was somewhat compelling, I eventually just got bored of hearing him do the same things over again, for it seemed that the majority of the book was just him talking about food and deer skin clothing. Overall it just seems a bit unrealistic. The fact that a 12 year old from New York was given permission to run away and live in the woods just doesn't seem likely, and even if he did manage ...more
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
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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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