Send a link to a friend
[JAN. 3, 2007]
"Maxwell's Mountain," by
Shari Becker, illustrated by Nicole Wong, Charlesbridge, 2006, 30 pages, ages
Maxwell and his toy soldier with the red beret are checking out a new
park. From the top of the slide they view the typical playground: swings,
sandbox, seesaw. Then they see an unexpected feature: a "mountain" that
would make a perfect lookout!
So begins the adventure of "Maxwell's Mountain," by Shari Becker. Before
Maxwell can climb the hill, his parents challenge him to become a real
outdoorsman. He visits the library to check out books on mountain climbing,
makes a list of things to do and take with him, trains by climbing the
staircase four times, draws a map of the park, and organizes his gear and
Although Maxwell turns down his parents' offer to be assistant navigators
(he has his trusty toy soldier), he believes he is ready to tackle his
mountain. Watching from the foot of the hill, his parents encourage him to
remember this: "If he gets in trouble, a true outdoorsman uses his head."
The rest of the story tells of his trip up the "mountain," including a point
where he loses the trail and his confidence.
[to top of second column]
Maxwell's parents are portrayed as loving, encouraging supporters.
They help him attain his goal (including marking the trail with
yellow dots) while continuing to monitor his safety from the ground.
Most parents will identify with the moments when a parent must allow
a child to detach and accomplish a goal on his or her own. These are
moments of both anxiety and pride.
Nicole Wong's illustrations delight the eye as we are given views
from the top of a slide and the top of the stairway, from the
cluttered floor in pint-size view with the toy soldier, or from
table height as we gaze at Maxwell's dinner plate piled "high as a
mountain." The mother's red hair and father's Asian characteristics
will appeal to those looking for multicultural family units. The toy
soldier, Harry, comes "alive" throughout the story, sharing in
Maxwell's adventure like the true best friend he is.
In "Maxwell's Mountain," Ms. Becker has given us a satisfying
story of a small boy's adventure. Come along and join in the fun!
This book and others about adventure can be checked out at the
Lincoln Public Library, 725 Pekin St. Where would you like to
[Louella Moreland, youth services librarian, Lincoln Public