The Mountain

The Mountain

The Mountain











The Mountain

Rebecca Gugger

Simon Röthlisberger

NorthSouth, 2021

48pp., hbk., RRP $A29.99


The bear knows exactly what the mountain looks like—a forest. The sheep, octopus, and ant also know the mountain. It’s a meadow! It’s surrounded by water! It’s a maze of tunnels! The chamois and snow hare have their opinions too. It seems the mountain looks different to every animal. How can that be? And whose point of view is right, particularly when bird challenges them by asking if any of them have actually been to the top of it to investigate…

Reminiscent of the parable of The Blind Men and the Elephant this is a great story to demonstrate how we each see things through the lens of our own experience and form opinions based on our relationship to an object or situation.  It’s why witnesses to an incident can each have a different account because different things have different priorities for them or their personal experience throws something into sharper relief. It’s why this Kiwi who grew up with the rugged, jagged Southern Alps as her stage setting now sees the current backdrop of the Snowy Mountains more as rolling hills, even though she knows and understands the geological differences. 

Thus, it is a wonderful way to explore the concept of perception with even young students – read them The King’s Breakfast by A. A. Milne and have them draw the king then compare and contrast the drawings so they begin to understand how their preconceived ideas influenced their drawing.  Continue with either the description of the BFG (Dahl) or the hobbit (Tolkien) and discuss how, even when they were working with identical words, each drawing is different. Have them retell Little Miss Muffet from the spider’s perspective and venture into the world of stereotypes and even “judging a book by its cover.” 

One book – so many options.  Perfect! 

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