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

(Mountain #1)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  71,545 ratings  ·  3,991 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
Published 1975 by Anytime Books/Dutton Juvenile (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. …moreIt'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. (less)
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 Ups…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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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  71,545 ratings  ·  3,991 reviews

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Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
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
Julie G
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
Jun 28, 2009 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. 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 ...more
Bruno Manning
Mar 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hey Folks! This one's for kids. You were expecting Muir? ...more
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 ...more
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
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
Oct 11, 2008 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" ...more
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
Wanda Pedersen
***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
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
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
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

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,
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. ...more
Bob Mayer
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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

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
The other John
Dec 16, 2008 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
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
Dec 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars (because I felt uneasy about Sam getting a falcon the way he did, but it’s just my opinion; plus wondering about how good Sam’s diet really was, how lax his parents were about leaving him wandering on the family plot, and did his schooling end here). There are some illustrations in the book, of places, plants and such; the texts in some of them are in cursive, not always easy to read. One of those books, too, where ‘gay’ still means just ‘happy’ :)

Spoilers include spoilers also for the
Jerrit 811
Feb 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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. ...more
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. ...more
Nov 20, 2008 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.
Hannah Linder
Oct 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this so long ago I can't really remember everything. I think I liked it! :) ...more
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.
Jan 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
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What is the name of this book? 1 3 Jun 19, 2020 09:39PM  
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My Side of the Mountain Vs Hatchet 2 28 Mar 11, 2020 06:19PM  
Trade Book 1- My Side of the Mountain 3 20 Jul 11, 2017 07:21PM  

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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

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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