Monday, February 27, 2012

Childhood Book: My Side of the Mountain

Fridays Shelf Awareness referenced a study on children's picture books and the decline of nature in them.  It got me thinking about some of my favorite books when I was growing up.  Although the books that came to mind weren't picture books, they were important stepping stones out of the picture book age.  I can't imagine my childhood without books like Hatchet, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Incident at Hawk's Hill and My Side of the Mountain to stir my deep-seeded desire to run away and live off the land (yes, even now).

So, I decided to do something I have been planning on doing for a long time now, reread one of them.  I did actually reread Island of the Blue Dolphins back in 2010 and since I loved it as much as I remember I can't believe it has taken me so long to pick up another book from this list.  Luckily, I have been slowly buying books from my childhood so I only had to go as far as my bookshelf to find My Side of the Mountain.

Let me tell you guys...I still love this book!  In case you aren't familiar with the story, Sam runs away, lives in a tree (how freaking awesome!) and has a pet falcon named Frightful.  There is a moment in the book that really stuck with me the first time I read it in elementary school and over the years I think about it at the most random times.  Sam builds a fire in his tree and...

Then I noticed something dreadful.  Frightful was sitting on the bedpost, her head under her wings.  She was toppling.  She jerked her head out of her feathers.  Her eyes looked glassy.  She is sick, I said.  I picked her up and stroked her, and we both might have died there if I had not opened the tent flap to get her some water.  The cold night air revived her.  "Air," I said.  "The fireplace used up all the oxygen.  I've got to ventilate this place."
pg. 92-93

Ever since I imagined that sweet bird I was unable to get the image of her glassy eyes out of my mind.  

Moral of the story:
We need books about trees and animals and dirt and edible flowers.  Books set in natural environments.
Also, read books from your childhood.  It's amazing!

1 comment:

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

This sounds like a wonderful story. I can see why it was memorable.