Book Review, Non-fiction Books, Picture Books

Secrets of the Mountain by Libby Walden & illustrated by Richard Jones

Secrets of the Mountain is one of the most beautiful picture books I have ever seen. The thoughtful, lyrical description of the power and majesty of a mountain combined with warm, gentle illustrations brings the scale and significance of this environment to life. The Rocky Mountains, in my home country of Canada, is one of my favourite places. Secrets of the Mountain has captured everything I love about this part of the world – the magnificent, towering mountains; the fresh, natural surroundings; and the mysterious, silent wildlife that is such a rare and wonderful blessing to spot. When I am in the mountains, I feel at peace and in absolute awe of the grandeur surrounding me. This book brought those feelings flooding back.

Each page depicts the natural rhythms of the mountain over the course of a day and night. There is so much to look at and discuss. Animal families and relationships are shown as they interact and go about their lives. At dusk, the animals change and nocturnal species begin their journey into the night. Additional panels provide space for more animals to appear on each page – the mountain is clearly full of life with so much going on. All of this takes place away from the busy lives of humans. There is one lone dog walker who is privileged to see some of these wonderful creatures.

This book is a pleasure to read for its own sake but it would also fit into classroom themes and activities well: animals, the forest, habitats, animals families, wildlife conservation, North America and so many other topics would be enriched by this book. The front and back pages contain labelled illustrations of each animal shared within the book to provide clarity. The language is a great model of how to write with intention and careful consideration of word choices. Each phrase is wonderfully crafted to paint a picture for the reader.

Secrets of the Mountain is sure to help readers understand the wonder of an environment so much larger than yourself and the breath-taking beauty of ancient, eternal mountains.

Thank you to Little Tiger Press for this amazing book!

Click on the cover below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon.

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