We are so close to the end of school and it’s a bit crazy around here! I have mixed feelings about the end of the school year. It has certainly been a unique year. But it has also been so good for our kids. They have thrived at school and have learned so much. So grateful for wonderful teachers and schools!
Today I am back with a review of a book that I absolutely loved: The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic by Jennifer Trafton. I first heard about this book from Read Aloud Revival and it was such a delight! It is definitely top of my list for read alouds with my kids in a few years.
- This novel reminds me of everything I love in the books of Eva Ibbotson and Edward Eager. An exciting fantasy story with great characters and surprising twists. All great for reading aloud! Also reminds me of The Princess Bride with a double narrator — the story was written by someone and has now been edited by someone else.
- I hope to read Trafton’s novel Henry and the Chalk Dragon as well as I have heard so many good things about it too!
According to Goodreads, “Ten-year-old Persimmony Smudge leads (much to her chagrin) a very dull life on the Island at the Center of Everything . . . until the night she overhears a life-changing secret. It seems that Mount Majestic, the rising and falling mountain in the center of the island, is not a mountain at all-it’s the belly of a sleeping giant, moving as the giant breathes. Now Persimmony and her new friend Worvil the Worrier have to convince all the island’s other quarreling inhabitants-including the silly Rumblebumps, the impeccably mannered Leafeaters, and the stubborn young king-that a giant is sleeping in their midst, and must not be woken. Enhanced with Brett Helquist’s dazzling illustrations, Jennifer Trafton’s rollicking debut tells the story of one brave girl’s efforts to make an entire island believe the impossible.”
I loved the premise of a giant sleeping under the mountain and no one knows. It is such a fun and simple idea to create a story around. It was fun to see how people reacted to that news. Some people believe. Some people don’t. And some people pretend one way or the other. The descriptions of the giant are fantastic! I loved picturing the cave and his long hair and his eye. Such a fun fantasy world that Trafton created here! The details are great like how King Lucas loves pepper and Persimmony’s mother and sister end up working in the pepper mill. Or the important of starfish to Worvil’s friends. Or the poisonous turtles and the walking trees. I loved the ways that Persimmony tries to convince people that the giant is real (and her experience seeing the evidence that tells her the truth!). She’s just a girl trying to save her family and her whole world. And her innocence paired with her determination makes her so fun to read about.
All the characters are well developed and unique and I found myself cheering for (surprisingly) them all. I loved Persimmony for her courage and heart. I loved Worvil for his worrying and bravery. I even found things to love about ridiculous and selfish yet endearing King Lucas. I loved how he changed in the story. All his bumbling advisors with their different views on truth and action were fun to read about from his professor to the pot maker and the archaeologist. I loved Persimmony’s mother and sister’s journey to find her and all their misadventures along the way. And Simon Smudge — not present but everywhere. His story seems to have more to tell and I hope there will be more in future!
The fantasy elements were simple and profound. My favorite were the magic pots with items you need not want (a feather, a loaf of bread, a flute, milk) and how they all come into the story later. I found the leafeaters and their hidden underground world very interesting. They are hyper focused on traditions and manners but have forgotten what’s truly important to them. And I loved the clever ways the giant under the mountain comes into the story. The rising and falling of the mountain because of the breathing. The wind in the tunnel where his head is. The buckle found in the palace dungeons. The leafeaters digging towards his feet. Very clever details!
I loved this clever story! The simple story telling and great pictures make it perfect for reading aloud. The characters are unique and endearing. And the ending surprises me while leaving room for more imaginative adventures. Highly recommend!
What are some of your favorite stand alone fantasy novels?
Do you like fantasy novels? Why or why not?