post written by Esther Filbrun
Title: Frightful’s Mountain
Author: Jean Craighead George
Series: My Side of the Mountain trilogy, book 3
Major Themes: Birds, Nature Stories
Synopsis: Frightful, a peregrine falcon, must learn to live on her own after she is unexpectedly separated from the only source of food and protection she’s ever known.
Years ago, Mom got a free trial for Audible and along with that gained access to My Side of the Mountain. One brother, especially, loved the story and listened to it over and over. It’s a fascinating tale! Recently, I discovered a sequel, Frightful’s Mountain, in an audiobook source we have access to as a family. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it turned out to be a gripping story, too—even Mom, who rarely takes time to listen to audio stories, got sucked in near the end!
Sam Gridley has raised Frightful from a chick. Now, as a fully-grown bird, she is a majestic specimen of a bird of prey. However, she’s worth quite a bit on the black market, and one day she is captured and her thieves prepare to sell her. Managing to escape, Frightful must learn to make her own way in the world. It isn’t easy—she’s depended on Sam her entire life for food and protection, and he didn’t train her the way her peregrine parents would have. Will she be able to survive in the wild without him? Will she know enough to feed and fend for herself? And what of finding a mate and raising chicks—without the experience in the nest as a baby, will she know how to do it herself?
I don’t know how George did it. Frightful’s Mountain is a gripping masterpiece of a nature tale. The animals are never personified—never made to seem more human than they actually are—but somehow, the story is told in such a way that you can understand why they did things they way they did and with enough twists and turns that you’re kept glued to your seat the whole way through. We finished this book in record time compared to some of our other stories, simply because once we were into it, no one had the heart to turn it off when we should have.
I love nature stories that pull one in to the setting and don’t let you go until the end. I’ve come across very few that actually do this, but I’m always impressed when I come across a new one. Frightful’s story was both realistic, entertaining, and intriguing. I hadn’t heard much about peregrine falcons before, but they sound like beautiful birds! I think each of us came away with a greater appreciation of the wonderful world God has created around us. And hey, it made for wonderful family time (can you call it family time when we’re all straining for every. single. word. so you don’t miss out?)!
WARNING: Due to having listened to this story several months ago, I have few records of warnings. However, I know there were words used now and then that we don’t appreciate, although none in particular stand out to me. This book does come from a “nature-hugging” perspective, which I struggle with at some times, but I felt like it wasn’t overdone here.
Read Aloud—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 13, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 12 – 15, Ages 15 and Above
Links to buy Frightful’s Mountain:
AbeBooks: View Choices on AbeBooks.com
Book Depository: Paperback
Keywords: Birds, Nature, Nature Stories