You’ve probably read it. It’s as good now as it was then.
Sam Gribley is a 12-year-old boy in New York who runs away to the old family land in the Catskills, which was abandoned three generations ago. He has a pen-knife, an axe, some chocolate, flint and steel, string, and an obsessive amount of knowledge from the public library. He burns a hollow in a tree, steals a peregrine nestling, and lives off the land. He’s such a sweet kid, and he never has to use the bathroom once in the whole book. I love it.
Ever since the first time I read the book, I have wanted to know if you really can boil water in a cabbage leaf. Sam says that the leaf will burn down to the water line and stop there. For 18 years I’ve wondered if this is true, but I never seem to have a campfire handy.
The weird thing is that Me(now) has picked up a surprising amount of botanical knowledge over Me(age10), so when I look at the author’s illustration of a wild potato plant, I nerdily think, “That’s a sweet potato, not a potato. Latin name Ipomoea, looks like a morning glory.” Maybe that’s why this book lit my nerdy imagination when I was 10.