cover image The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic

The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic

Jennifer Trafton, illus. by Brett Helquist, Dial, $16.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3375-6

Framed as an account written by Professor Barnabas Quill, "Historian of the Island at the Center of Everything," Trafton's debut is a lively adventure about magical pots, pepper, manners, poison-tongued jumping tortoises, poetic soldiers, and downtrodden yet resilient heroine Persimmony Smudge. One night, Persimmony becomes lost in the woods and overhears a plot to dig for gold buried beneath the king's castle at the top of the mountain. Informing bratty 12-year-old King Lucas ("His motto had always been ‘Eat first, think later,' and somehow he usually never managed to get around to the second part"), she learns the gold is actually an enormous belt buckle, and she is sent to investigate the rumor that there's a giant asleep underneath their small island, the mountain rising and falling as he breathes. Gathering proof, she and her friends must convince the island's fractured races that the giant is real before he wakes up and causes widespread devastation. Trafton imbues her tale with a delightful sense of fun and fascinating, well-rounded characters—playful wordsmithing and flowing dialogue make this an excellent choice for bedtime read-aloud. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 9–11. (Dec.)