My Side of the Mountain is a wonderful story about a young boy named Sam Gribley. Sam lives in New York with his large family in a small apartment in the city. One day, he decides that he has had enough of the city and he tells his dad that he is going to the mountains to make it on his own. His dad gives him a chuckle and says that every boy should try it at least once, then relates the story of his own adventure running away to sea and how he was back on dry land before the ships bell could ring. Sam surprises his dad though and catches a ride up to the Catskill mountains to an old homestead that belonged to a previous generation of the Gribley clan. Pretty soon, Sam has made a home for himself and his adventures just keep getting better.
The book by Jean Craighead George was a fantastic read for our family. My kids adore survival shows such as, Survivorman and Man vs. Wild. Sam Gribley's year in the mountains fell right into that vein. They loved the adventure. They were intrigued by Sam's independence. They were awed by his skillfulness. The lure of the Catskills was strong.
The book was also a fantastic springboard for a wonderful word study. We were able to look up tons of birds, plants, animals, trees and geographical terms that might not have come up otherwise. The kids were excited to learn the difference between a Nuthatch and a Junco or an Aspen and a Hemlock. It was so easy too. We read a chapter, made a list of the words we didn't know and then googled each word and added them to a slide show. In this way, the kids were able to understand the text much more fully and were even able to take some of that knowledge into the world with them. For instance, we were playing in the park and my eight year old ran down the hillside and under a bridge so that he could play in the "ravine" just like Sam. Here are some of the slides we made.
We did several more but Blogger is being a pain and won't let me format them the way that I want to. So these will have to give you an idea. If you would like the rest for your own study, email me and I will send them to you. All in all, it was a fantastic reading experience. A lot of time spent cuddling together and a lot of new concepts introduced.