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by Miriam Moss illustrated by Adrienne Kennaway

Age Range: 6 - 9

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-84507-984-0
Publisher: Frances Lincoln

The great mountain supports a complex system of flora and fauna.

Under an African sky, the breathtaking mountain sits and sleeps, crowned in ice. On grasslands spread out at the foot of the mountain, vast herds of wildlife, from elephants to zebras to baboons, graze. It's also where "the Masai make their homesteads." In the foothills, Chagga women tend "their shambas, / of bananas and yams." Higher up the mountain there are forests, with troops of "catapaulting colobus" and, even higher, a waterfall and small streams where the "shy Suni antelope" and bush pigs and elands dwell. Continuing up to mists and moorland, wild dogs and buffalo and ravens mingle. Even higher is an alpine desert with stones and expanses of grey scree, with mole rats, leopard and striped mice. And at the very top is a "strange lunar landscape,… an alien ice world" of glaciers and powerful winds that sculpt the ice. "Clouded in mystery, / created in fire. / This is Mount Kilimanjaro." Moss' free verse is powerful and lyrical. Kennaway's watercolors echo the elegance of the writing, though the images seem targeted to a younger audience; not an ideal match for the sophistication of the text or the subject. The last two pages offer a more extensive and prosaic explanation of the climactic and topographic nature of the mountain.

Overall: lovely. (Picture book. 6-9)