The Mountain by Rebecca Gugger, illustrated by Simon Röthlisberger


The Mountain by Rebecca Gugger, illustrated by Simon Röthlisberger. Translated by Marshall Yarbrough. NorthSouth, 2021. 9780735844575

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Format: Hardcover

Genre:  Picture book

What did you like about the book? A bear, a sheep, an octopus, an ant, a chamois and a hare each assert a different description of the mountain. Bird has had enough of their squabbling, and suggests that they actually climb the mountain to see. The animals agree, each thinking that they will show the others “how right I am!” The story ends with the animals marveling at the view from the mountain’s top, and agreeing that it’s quite simple. And the reader finishes the thought – that the mountain is all of the things the animals asserted, depending on perspective.

Simple text, mostly dialogue, in different font sizes, makes for an easy read. The fine-lined art adds lots of humor, showing each animal clearly caught up in their own view, with full textless spreads for the reader to examine. Why, each animal seems to be right! And at the end, the reader gets to smile knowingly as the animals finally see that they can all be right. It’s a sweet, clever take on the folktale of The Blind Men and the Elephant. Young readers will enjoy the fun depictions of each animal and their idiosyncrasies – the bear slurping honey, the ant sorting out their many socks, the octopus trying to extricate herself from a glass bowl.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book? A nice choice for exploring empathy and tolerance, for ages 3-7.

Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: September 22, 2021

This entry was posted in *Book Review, *Picture Book, Animal fiction, Empathy, Rebecca Gugger, Simon Röthlisberger and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.