Jean Craighead George (1919-2012) was the author of more than 100 beloved books for young people, including the Newbery Award-winning Julie of the Wolves, the Newbery Honor-winning My Side of the Mountain, On the Far Side of the Mountain, and Frightful's Mountain . She was a lifetime naturalist and a household name. Her website can be found at www.jeancraigheadgeorge.com.
Gr 4-7-Frightful, the peregrine falcon readers first met through the adventures of Sam Gribley in My Side of the Mountain (Dutton, pap. 1988), takes center stage in Frightful's Mountain (Dutton, 1999), the third book of the series by Jean Craighead George. Frightful is held captive by thieves intent on selling her on the black market. Although she is soon rescued by a familiar presence, her journey to adulthood has only begun. Clearly narrated by actor Jeff Woodman in a warm and passionate voice, listeners are drawn into a compelling and thrilling story. Frightful must adapt not only to living on her own as a wild bird, but also learn to survive her competing instincts: those of a wild peregrine falcon who recognizes the urge to mate and raise young, and those of a falcon who was raised and nurtured by a human and craves human companionship. Frightful faces many perils. Although she remains near Sam's territory and encounters him often, this is Frightful's story, and it is compelling from beginning to end. Sam and his sister Alice continue their parallel story, aided by returning and new characters who share their passionate concern for endangered species. Children will cheer the small group of school children who help engineer one of Frightful's rescues. George's descriptive yet simple eloquence and unsentimental style create a cast of animal characters who are each as endearing as Frightful. Forty years after writing My Side of the Mountain, George has succeeded in completing this trilogy with a seamless transition to the present, losing none of the character or authenticity of the earlier books. She has simply added detailsÄsuch as a cellular phone for Bando, and school children who use the word "cool"Äto update a tale that will become a classic.-Debra Bogart, Springfield Public Library, OR Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Like the conclusion of George's Julie of the Wolves trilogy (Julie's Wolf Pack), this third book in the cycle that began with My Side of the Mountain is told almost exclusively from the point of view of the wildlife. As the novel opens, Frightful, Sam Gribley's peregrine falcon, is being held captive by poachers. The falcon thinks only of returning to Sam, in a riff that recurs throughout the novel ("She was... searching for the one mountain, the one tree, and Sam"). Once Alice, Sam's sister, frees the falcon, much of the tension in the novel relates to whether or not Frightful can make it on her own. George builds the suspense in a third-person narration that most often takes the falcon's perspective, as Frightful hesitates between returning to Sam (who can no longer harbor her) and following the instincts of her breed as a male attempts to court her. The writing is not as fluid here; the pacing bogs down in occasional asides that fill in subplots or conservation issues (e.g., the spring return of Lady, one of Frightful's "adopted" falcon fledglings, occasions a prolonged discussion of DDT). However, details of peregrine migration, mating and nesting rituals are seamlessly woven into the plot, in which Frightful is threatened both by construction workers and the infamous poachers. Nature lovers will not be disappointed. Age 9-up. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.