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On Call Back Mountain

On Call Back Mountain

by Eve Bunting, Barry Moser (Illustrator)
Two brothers encounter a lone wolf on the spot where each summer night before they had signaled their friend the fire watchman up on the mountain tower.


Two brothers encounter a lone wolf on the spot where each summer night before they had signaled their friend the fire watchman up on the mountain tower.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Bunting and Moser demonstrate their craftsmanship with this carefully calibrated tale. The narrator and his younger brother live at the foot of Call Back Mountain, "on the very edge of the wilderness." Their only neighbor is Bosco Burak, the summer lookout in the fire tower 15 miles away. His annual arrival is the highlight of the boys' year; they look forward to the single night he spends with them as he travels to the tower, his goods piled atop his mules Aida and Traviata (he calls them "the ladies"). Every night, all summer long, the boys flash their lanterns to say good night to Bosco. But one night he fails to signal back, and the boys' parents climb the mountain to discover that he has died. The grieving boys spy an unusually long-legged wolf; as they marvel at the return of the wolf after fire drove the wild animals away a few years earlier, they are at the same time reminded of the unusually long-legged Bosco. They wonderingly recall Bosco's belief that "any creature that loves the wilderness will always come back." This is a quiet, understated story that raises questions without fretting over answers. Moser's paintings mirror the tale's subtlety, doing justice to the wilderness setting, and flourishing within the confined palette of night scenes. Ages 4-up. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Dori Butler
Joe and Ben live with their parents at the foot of Call Back Mountain. Every summer, their friend Bosco returns to work as a lookout at the fire tower up on the mountain. The relationship between Bosco and the family is well established before Bosco heads up to the fire tower. He s too far away to visit, but every night the boys signal with their lanterns to say goodnight and Bosco shines his lantern in return. Then one night Bosco s light doesn t shine. The next morning, Mom and Dad hike up to the fire tower to check things out. Bosco has had a heart attack. This beautifully illustrated book deals with friendship and loss without stooping to melancholy.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 1-3A gifted writer creates a world and relationships that will touch her readers. Two young brothers live in an isolated wilderness area. Each June, an elderly man who works as a fire spotter high on the mountain comes to visit before climbing up to the tower for the summer. The fun and affection they share is joyous. The boys read aloud to Bosco to show their new skills; he shares his knowledge of nature and his love of opera with them. Once Bosco assumes his post, they signal him with lanterns each night, and his light always answers theirs. Linked to the story is the disappearance of wolves from the area after a fire caused by arson. One night, he does not return their signal; in the morning the boys' parents climb up the mountain and discover that he has died of a heart attack. The youngest continues to try to signal the old man in disbelief at his death. The older boy takes comfort in the return of the wolves, in the sense of hope and renewal he sees around him in the natural world, and in his memories of his friend. Bunting's words and phrases are lyrical. Moser's watercolors evocatively convey the starkness and majesty of the wilderness setting during the day and at night and the closeness the friends share.Judith Gloyer, Milwaukee Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
Joe and Ben anxiously await the annual summer return of their friend Bosco Burak, the elderly lookout in the fire tower that stands on the peak above their family's cabin. Although the forest was devastated by a fire that drove the animals away a few summers ago, Bosco tells the boys that there is new growth and that the animals will return to Call Back Mountain, just as Bosco always does. Every night that Bosco is on the tower, the boys signal goodnight with their lanterns, and Bosco's light answers. Then one night there is no answer—Bosco has had a fatal heart attack, and Ben and Joe must come to terms with his death. The night after Bosco's death, the boys spot a lone wolf with great shining eyes and long, spindly legs, just like Bosco's, on a ledge—the animals have returned. Simply written and gloriously illustrated, this tale of love, loss, and renewal lingers long after the last page is turned. Bunting (The Blue and the Gray, 1996, etc.) presents complex issues in a way that even very young readers will grasp.

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.78(w) x 11.25(h) x 0.37(d)
Age Range:
4 - 6 Years

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