by Jean Craighead George
a book review by Jackie Houchin
MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN by Jean Craighead George is an engrossing tale of a boy who ran away from home in the city, and never when back. He became instead what the newspapers later called “a wild boy.” But in truth he was not that. He was a civilized teen living in the Woods. From that first attempt at fire to making his own cozy home, clothes, cooking and eating utensils, even musical instruments, he was civilized.
He lived a year of seasons alone, eating off the land and improvising. He ate animals and fish, at first fresh, then dried, plus plants, roots and nuts. Later he filled a storehouse with them for the winter. He learned to tan animal skins to make clothes, shoes, bedding, and strings and ties. He bathed regularly, wrote notes on waterproof, enduring birch bark, and learned to read the weather “barometer” from the animals. What he needed he made or found, including a helpful “Frightful” companion for hunting and friendship.
This book was akin in my mind to a Swiss Family Robinson or a Robinson Crusoe in many ways – at least in the marvelous improvisions. I thoroughly enjoyed “Thoreau’s” adventure and was a little saddened as it came to an end, well, not exactly to an end.
MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN is an educational as well as a uniquely fastinating and dream-inspiring book. (Don’t worry, parents, your kids won’t run away from home after reading it.)