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On the Far Side of the Mountain Paperback – May 21, 2001
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Thirty years after the publication of her Newbery Honor Book, My Side of the Mountain, Jean Craighead George rewarded her many fans with an exciting sequel. This remarkable author of over 80 books and recipient of more than 20 literary awards (including the Newbery Medal for Julie of the Wolves) is a passionate advocate for the environment. Her knack for naturalist writing that crackles with life will have readers of all ages chomping at the bit for the third novel in her trilogy, Frightful's Mountain. (Ages 9 to 12) --Emilie Coulter --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
George's children books are the best that I have read on survival and the outdoors. I have read them several times and have shared them with many of my students. Just reading them makes me want to escape on a camping trip to the mountains.
The Good and the Bad:
I may have just gotten to this book too late to derive the childhood joy that it is meant to impart. The characters all seemed wooden, the plot contrived and predictable, and the action unrealistic. The original book was one of my favorites as a young boy, and I imagine that I just missed the boat on this one. I did enjoy some of the ingenious survival skills Sam employed, and also liked that I can now recognize a few of the plant names that Sam mentions. And it is also a little thrilling to me to recognize that the tale takes place in the Catskill mountains, not far from my own childhood home. From outside the book, I can praise its politics, which are indicated by a bevy of strong female characters and a pure environmentalist ethic put into practical living.
I enjoyed this book, but not nearly as much as the first, to me it seemed a little bit forced, almost as though there were an agenda for writing it. This one did not have quite the carefree feel to it as the original, which of course we know is common in sequels. I did like the story line of this one and it did build nicely on the first story.
It may be a generational thing, but I found this book less believable than the first book. Even though it was written in the 60's, I find it hard to believe that so many people would know about these young kids living off the land like this without there being considerable grief for the parents, something that was alluded to in the first book.
All in all though, a fun book with a lot of really neat, well thought out, and researched wilderness survival skills included.
It is an adventure that is written so gently. Each chapter presents the boy with a problem he has to overcome and then takes us through his adventure.
Yes, it is very old fashioned but a lovely antidote to all the dystopian fantasy fiction that is around at the moment for kids.
Amazon does a great job of capturing what the story is about so I will not go over the basics of the plot. However, "On the Far Side of the Mountain" is unable to recapture all of the original's charm. One of the problems is that the story is complicated and made messy - compared to the simple "Boy vs. Nature" conflict/theme of the original. OTFSOTM focuses less on "Boy vs Nature" and more on "Boy vs. Man" and the exploitation of the environment - you get the impression that Jean Craighead George is more intent on making a point about protecting endangered species and less on how Sam is able to enjoy his natural environment (which I found a powerful statement in the original). In fact, Sam focuses less on his love for his natural surroundings than his disdain for the ways of society - such as his refusal to eat at a restaurant.
Overall, I would still highly recommend OTFSOTM for both kids and adults. However, I do think that kids could learn a lesson on the need to protect animals and the environment. 4 stars
Most Recent Customer Reviews
(9 year old boy)