Review Blog

Jan 24 2017

The mountain who wanted to live in a house by Maurice Shadbolt

cover image

Ill. by Renee Haggo. Starfish Bay, 2016. ISBN 9781760360023
(Age: 5-7) Maurice Shadbolt's unusual tale begins with a lonely mountain, people come to climb on it, and they watch the birds flitting in the trees. However, no one considers that it has feelings and desires. The mountain watches over the nearby town and longs to be inside at night, in the warmth of a house. This is a most unusual request and as if by magic, the mountain begins to move, towards to the town with a rumbling, tumbling sound, over the pine forests scaring the birds and townsfolk. As they hurry away in their cars, one young boy bravely questions the mountain looking for an answer to the threat. Michael listens to the mountain's story of his loneliness and watches as snow tears fall down to make two lakes. Thomas ponders the problem and comes up with an ingenious solution drawing from an idea about jumpers shrinking in the wash. Washing the mountain presents a problem and so does building a shelter, so with the help of Michael's father an artist the perfect solution is found. Michael shows courage, determination and creativity in this story.
Renee Huggo's paintings use earthy tones and suggestions of human characteristics to show the mountain alive - grey clouds for toes and a carved rocky face. This is a curious picture book for a more discerning reader.
The Mountain who wanted to live in a house provides a starting point in class to discuss cause and effect, to write an alternate solution for the mountain's problem and to discuss anthropomorphism in simple terms.
Rhyllis Bignell

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