A well-known New Zealand writer for adults offers children a tale about an inanimate object who wants to live like a person.
A mountain walks to town, where it meets Thomas, a white boy who stays behind when all the other people flee, and says: “I only want to live in a house.” Thomas decides that the mountain is too large for any house. There is a folkloric element to the tale, as Thomas tries in three ways to help the mountain get his wish. First he attempts to shrink the mountain with soap and water and then chips away at the stone. Finally, he decides that his father, an artist, will paint the mountain’s picture and put it in a house. He persuades the mountain that it can remain a place where people can enjoy picnicking and skiing and still live in a house with people, a Solomonic solution that may not resonate with the intended audience. The acrylic paintings, mostly in shades of brown and gray, are realistically rendered, except when the mountain comes to life with the craggy, anthropomorphized face of a sculpted idol. There is a surrealist, static feel to some of the paintings, and the language, no doubt aspiring as well to the folkloric, is stilted.
Although the author may be famous in the adult literary world, this story is not a success. (Picture book. 5-7)