The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic
Oh, how ten-year-old Persimmony Smudge longs for Glory! Heroism! Adventure! But instead she leads a dull life on the Island at the Center of Everything, weaving baskets and sweeping floors. Until, that is, the night she overhears a life-changing secret. It seems that Mount Majestic, the rising and falling mountain at the center of the island, is not a mountain at all. It’s the belly of a sleeping giant! Now it’s up to Persimmony and her new friend Worvil the Worrier to convince all the island’s other quarreling inhabitants—the Rumblebumps, the Leafeaters, and most of all, the stubborn young king—that a giant is sleeping in their midst, and must not be woken.
With dazzling illustrations by the legendary Brett Helquist, Jennifer Trafton’s fantastical debut is full of magic, adventure—and lots and lots of pepper.
Comments & Reviews
Persimmony Smudge can’t help but march to a different saxophone.. er… accordion… Well, you get the idea. To the rote and unimaginative, she’s an odd little girl with the vexing inclinations of an explorer or even (gasp) an artist. Yet her unwillingness to conform to the mundane ultimately leads her on a grand journey of redemption.
Trafton’s writing voice is vibrant. She brings the levity and wit of Lemony Snicket into a story less dolorous but equally rousing. Her craftsmanship is creative and exquisite, so that I found myself rereading sentences so perfectly constructed, I wanted to shout.
A Trafton reader will get the sense that a great deal of fun was had in the making of story. The chapter titles alone are worth the cost of the book, with gems such as: “CH 15: ‘In Which It is Better to Be a Noble Worm than a Dead Frog (or Something Like That.)’” and “CH 9: ‘In Which a Lyre Tells the Truth (Perhaps)’”. While reading, I felt a bit like I was watching an Olympic athlete, fitted with years of hard practice, caught simply in the childlike bliss of a ten-point vault. Light. Strong. Perfect execution.
As I read, I found myself soaking not only in the primary plot, but also in the underlying layers of truth beneath it. This book functions on multiple levels, ministering to the spirit as well as the mind, and an astute reader will glean something from every one of them.
One last note. This is a book you’ll want to buy in printed form (not an e-version). Everything about its physical appearance is beautiful. The size, heft, illustrations, pages, make it a tactile delight.
Five stars for the debut of a brilliant new children’s author. Encore!
I’m always on the lookout for a fun, lighthearted book. I knew I wanted to read The Rise and Fall of Mt. Majestic when I first heard about it here on The Rabbit Room. The recommendations here have always panned out for me and resulted in some very enjoyable reads and new favorite authors. To my surprise I won a copy on a Good Reads’ contest that Jennifer Trafton (the author) was holding. The book arrived a few days later and I dug right in.
I’ll start by saying that the writing is superb. As AP said in his review, Jennifer really knows how to craft a sentence. The story moves along at a brisk pace with dialogue that is so wonderful I often found myself smiling. If I wasn’t opposed to highlighting in my novels I would have highlighted a lot of lines that are absolutely quotable. The characters are amazing. Our lead heroine, ten-year-old Persimmony Smudge, is so adorable and likable that I really hope we get to go back to the Island at the Center of Everything in the future. While we don’t get a ton of back-story on all the characters, they’re fleshed out so that we understand why they are the way they are and it’s a delight to see how they change and grow over the course of the story.
I most related to Worvil the Worrier, who’s progression through the story made me cheer by the book’s end, and bratty 12-year-old King Lucas the Loftier (I love pepper too!), who also grows quite a bit through the story. You could really feel what the characters were wrestling with and feel the weight of the situations they found themselves in.
Adding to the great story and the great characters are incredible illustrations by Brett Helquist (of Lemony Snicket fame). I’m a huge fan of art like his and I loved turning the page of a great scene to see his beautifully drawn artwork.
Most of my recent reading has been young adult/teen fiction like The Hunger Games trilogy and others like that. The Rise and Fall of Mt. Majestic is more children’s fiction, but I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. It’s the kind of book that I can’t wait to read to my son when he gets a little older. It’s a sweet story about bravery and courage and putting others before yourself. I can’t wait to see what Jennifer brings us next. I’ll definitely be there on release day.
- Recommended for ages 8 and older