cover image The Mountains of Tibet

The Mountains of Tibet

Mordicai Gerstein. HarperCollins Publishers, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-022144-7

In this fantasy of reincarnation, a humble Tibetan woodcutter dies without ever realizing his dream to ""see'' the world. But in death he is offered a second chance. All he has to do is choose the place and form of life most appealing to him. He ponders over swirling galaxies and sparkling stars, each time following his heart and each time choosing what is dear to him: a landscape that looks familiar, parents whose loving faces seem to wink and smile in welcome to him. After all his decisions are made, the woodcutter's ultimate choice is to return as a little girl, thus continuing the never-ending cycle of life. The selection process is both a philosophical journey and a joyful homecoming; readers may want to cry out, ``But of course!'' every time the woodcutter narrows his choices. Gerstein's exquisite watercolor and gouache illustrations are worthy of framing, displaying the whirling chaos of indecision, the vast number of planets, cities and people from which to choose, and the small, twinkly-eyed girl who flies kites inThe Mountains of Tibet. Ages 7-up. (October)