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My Side of the Mountain – rabbit trails

March 24, 2009
tags: ,

Chers Amis,

Pippin started reading My Side of the Mountain
by Jean Craighead George this morning and already it has taken us on an unexpected rabbit trail – to North Dakota. This classic story tells how Sam Gribley runs away from his home in New York City to the Catskill Mountains to live off the land in the wilderness and to discover the location of his great-grandfather’s farm. Pippin, unlike his sisters who have already built a lean-to on the back of our property and would move in tomorrow if I would allow them to, is not an outside kind of kid. He would prefer access to Wi-fi at all times to roughing it so I knew that this book would not be an instant hit with him. Enter Google maps/Google earth and a virtual visit to the Catskills. I printed out the Catskills Map from My Side of the Mountain printable study guide for Pippin to color and label. The worksheets ask the student if they would travel by themselves to a town they had never seen to find their great-grandfather’s land and what they would do there. Light bulb. Where is Pippin’s great-grandfather’s land? Far north in North Dakota within sight of Canada, wheat, sunflowers, and barley wave over the homestead that is still in our family even if we have moved on to sunnier climes! Luckily my paternal grandparents did extensive genealogical research on both my grandfather and grandmother’s families and had them published. Out came my copies and we spent some time pouring over the records before finding a few maps of the area to bring it back to geography and tie it into our book. I can see we will be calling Grandpa Charles tonight to learn how things are on the farm. Don’t you just love rabbit trails!


PS – Here are a few of the maps we used. At least one of the sites has similar maps for other states.

Printable map of North Dakota

Printable map of North Dakota with counties

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 24, 2009 9:53 am

    Interesting… my dh had to drive down to Catskill today. (Of course, that is Rip Van Winkle country, too, speaking of rabbit trails.) You can see the taller peaks of the Catskills from the south of our county. Not — alas — from our house. We’re closer to the Adirondacks.

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