Mabel and the mountain by Kim Hillyard

cover image

Ladybird, 2020. ISBN: 9780241407929.
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Subtitled, A story about believing in yourself, the wide eyed creature in a smart knitted hat invites the reader to look further inside, if only to know what this creature is. We find out soon enough as her route is tracked over the intervening pages before the story starts, further intriguing the reader. Mabel is a fly, and Mabel has some very big plans. Her list of things to do fills a page: climb a mountain, host a dinner party and make friends with a shark. Readers' imaginations will soar with Mabel, wondering how a little fly can achieve such momentous things. When she announces her plans to her friends, they all say lots of negative things: no, stay at home, flies do not climb, ridiculous and it can't be done. These derisive comments do not deter Mabel. She finds a mountain to climb and climbs, passing other climbers with all the right gear, seeing animals that threaten, wondering if she has the courage to go on. But a voice tells her to keep going and she does, arriving at the top of the mountain, thrilled at what she sees. Returning she finds things have changed: her friends are no longer derisive, but making plans of their own, asking her what her next plan is.
And children reading this lovely positive picture book will do just that: dream about their own big plans and, like Mabel, start straight away. Like me, readers will look closely at the detail on each page: the funny fly faces, the things they are dressed in and what they are holding, the way each fly is made different with what seems like a few strokes of the pen. A wonderfully positive read, sure to encourage readers to believe in themselves. Themes: Mountains, Self awareness, Challenges, Adventure.
Fran Knight