Terribly unhappy in his family's crowded New York City apartment, Sam Gribley runs away to the solitude and danger of the mountains, where he finds a side of himself he never knew.
This was a lovely story that will be loved by pre teens as I am sure most of them would love to be free of their parents and living comfortably with nature. Also, the very interesting facts about how to survive by living off the land would be quite exciting for a child to learn - I was intrigued by some of the things that he could eat and use.
However, I struggled with the story as there were a few facts that I could just not get over. First was that if your 17 year old had run away, surely, you would be sending out search parties to look for him and bring him home, particularly if you actually knew where he had gone. I don't think any mother would just leave their child to live in the wilderness for many months without intervening. Second, how did Sam know all the things he knew about living in nature. Even the best read teenager would struggle to have all the knowledge that Sam had to survive in the wilderness. Ok it was written in 1959 a time when there were no video games, computers and tv to distract a child from reading books but still, it just was not believable to me. Lastly, and again this might be a sign of the times, but I thought the character of Bando was just creepy as what College Professor would leave a child alone in the woods to survive and then come and stay over alone with him in a tree on several occasions. I just don't think that he would have done this but the times were different in 1959!
So if you can get your head around these three main faults then it is a lovely little story, reminiscent of Enid Blyton for a slightly older audience in some ways. Perhaps get your pre teen to read and let me know their opinion.
It is one book from a trilogy and I may be tempted to read the next two just to see where it all leads - not a huge effort as they are only a couple of hundred pages each.
So 3 out of 5 from me.