Up the Mountain Path (Ages 5-8. picture book about friendship and the natural world)
by Marianne Dubuc
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 02 Oct 2018 | Archive Date 18 Oct 2018
STARRED REVIEW -- Canadian writer Dubuc (The Fish and the Cat ), whose gentle work champions friendship and explores life stages, suggests that kindness can become a tradition. In pencil, colored pencil, and watercolor-washed spreads, she introduces Mrs. Badger, who lives in a hobbitlike dwelling and climbs Sugarloaf Peak every Sunday, helping overturned turtles and speaking with acquaintances along the way. On the trail one day, Mrs. Badger senses that she’s being watched. “There’s enough for both of us, if you’re hungry,” she says, opening her spotted bindle and addressing the air in front of her. Readers see who’s lurking: a young, nervous kitten named Lulu. Lulu joins Mrs. Badger on her Sunday walks, learning about wild plants and making friends. And when Mrs. Badger is too frail to make the trips anymore, Lulu takes over, performing the same kinds of small favors that Mrs. Badger did before her, and inviting a new young friend to trek alongside. Lulu’s faithfulness and loving-kindness implicitly honors Mrs. Badger’s memory. Hand-lettered text adds homey comfort, and so do small side notes (“little, bare red head” reads a description of a turkey vulture named Will). It is, in essence, a guidebook to amity and exploration. Ages 3–7. -- Publishers Weekly
In this Canadian import translated from French, after many hikes together, an aging badger is no longer able to make it up the mountain; and so her cat mentee, Lulu, becomes the mentor, helping another up the hill in this cyclical story of intergenerational relationships. Mrs. Badger is an avid hiker, making the trek to Sugarloaf Peak every Sunday, always ready with a kind word or gesture. It's with this attitude of generosity that she befriends Lulu, a young cat who wishes to reach the mountaintop. Together they hike, and over many weeks, Lulu's confidence and knowledge grow under the gentle guidance of Mrs. Badger. Eventually, it's Lulu who's helping Mrs. Badger along the way, until one day the rosy-cheeked mustelid can no longer make the sojourn. With the passage of time, the mountain slowly becomes Lulu's alone, until one day she encounters a rabbit in much the same way Mrs. Badger met her. The two begin the hike together, continuing the same journey of friendship. Simple natural settings and character designs done in an earthy, primary palette are appealing. The artist uses simple washes with colored pencils to accent small details and patterning, and the compositions flow well, echoing the story of Lulu's journey with both intimate scenes and vast environments. Dubuc adheres to the story's pattern both in text and art, which makes for a pleasant and predictable journey. A quiet, lovely story for the intergenerational shelf. (Picture book. 3-7) -- Kirkus Reviews