This boy’s father works fixing power lines in mountainous country in Idaho. There’s a forest fire, the men are up there making repairs and find an orphaned puma kitten. Man brings it home and they raise it in the family. At first of course the kitten is cute and playful, but when it gets bigger they can’t keep it in the house. Boy builds a shelter for it in the yard and takes it for walks on a chain, lets it loose to run beside his bicycle in the woods. He loves the young mountain lion Pepper, but when she reaches maturity they realize they can’t keep her. Friends are no longer allowed to come over and play- other parents worry the mountain lion will hurt somebody, even though she’s gentle and really friendly to people. Then an incident with somebody’s dog in town really brings things to a crisis. Town council demands they get rid of the mountain lion- she has to go into a zoo, live in a cage on an uncle’s property far away, or simply be euthanized. The boy can’t bear any of these options, so he runs away with Pepper into the forested mountains, determined to teach her to hunt so she can live free. He’s glad to get out into the wilderness, but then realizes he doesn’t have any idea how to teach a mountain lion to hunt . . . This was a pretty good story. It actually had me on tenterhooks for a moment near the end. And the pencil illustrations by Ted Lewin are great, very lively and expressive.