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The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic [Deckle Edge] [Hardcover]

Jennifer Trafton , Brett Helquist
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Hardcover, Deckle Edge, December 2, 2010 --  
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Book Description

December 2, 2010 8 and up 3 and up930L (What's this?)
Ten-year-old Persimmony Smudge leads (much to her chagrin) a very dull life on the Island at the Center of Everything . . . until the night she overhears a life-changing secret. It seems that Mount Majestic, the rising and falling mountain in the center of the island, is not a mountain at all--it's the belly of a sleeping giant, moving as the giant breathes. Now Persimmony and her new friend Worvil the Worrier have to convince all the island's other quarreling inhabitants--including the silly Rumblebumps, the impeccably mannered Leafeaters, and the stubborn young king--that a giant is sleeping in their midst, and must not be woken.

Enhanced with Brett Helquist's dazzling illustrations, Jennifer Trafton's rollicking debut tells the story of one brave girl's efforts to make an entire island believe the impossible.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Persimmony Smudge, 10, is leading a life as dull as her name on the Island at the Center of Everything. But one day she goes out to find another magic pot (having broken the first one) and soon finds herself in the midst of a dangerous adventure. Twelve-year-old King Lucas, who loves pepper, disdains his subjects, and has a talent for rudeness, sends Persimmony, along with Worvil the Worrier and Guafnoggle the Jester, to see if there’s really a sleeping giant under Mount Majestic and, if so, to make sure he is absolutely, positively not awakened. First-time novelist Trafton uses delicious descriptions and flight-of-fancy words to put Persimmony on the path of a hero’s journey, and the story is filled with characters who make an impression. If the book gets a bit long in places, Helquist’s pencil illustrations (though at times rather sketchlike) neatly break up the text. In this tale, which would lend itself well to reading aloud, Trafton offers a fresh take on a very familiar genre. Grades 3-6. --Ilene Cooper


(Starred review) 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. --Publishers Weekly

There's a funny, witty read ahead .... A good book for the family to read aloud. --Chicago Tribune

Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 930L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Dial; First Edition edition (December 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803733755
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803733756
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,533,414 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jennifer Trafton was kidnapped by pirates at the age of five and spent her childhood at sea, swabbing the deck of a ship with a mop made from the stolen whiskers of a rare silver manatee. Or she wishes she had been, because then she would have an interesting life story to tell.

Instead, she grew up in Bowling Green, Kentucky, with no ocean in sight. She spent her childhood drawing pictures, reading books, and taking her dolls and stuffed animals on elaborate adventures that often involved mermaids and dolphins. Her writing career began at the age of ten when she decided to be a poet. One of her earliest poems was about the odor of a shoe. Things could only go up from there.

After seeing her dreams of being a dolphin trainer dashed by the inconvenience of having no ocean nearby, Jennifer finally went on her first real adventure to Great Britain, where she lugged around a heavy green backpack named Oscar the Grouch and ate a lot of fish 'n chips. Once, while walking along the top of some large, strangely shaped, grass-covered mounds of earth, she imagined that a giant was sleeping underneath. After that, all she could see--wherever she went--were creatures sleeping under green hills and mountains. It was even more perplexing than a British bus schedule. When she got home, she wrote down what she had seen and promptly forgot about it . . . until years later, when she was writing about a girl who lost her hat in a forest, and that giant stomped into the story and took over. Giants can be like that. Except this one fell asleep.

Now Jennifer lives near Nashville, Tennessee, where there is still no ocean in sight, and where she is still drawing pictures, still reading books, still imagining adventures, and trying desperately to convince her beautiful and neurotic dog to go outside.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't let sleeping giants lie: read this book! December 14, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Here are some of the fine services this book will render you and your children:

1) A gentle inoculation against the kind of huffy arrogance and petulance displayed by young King Lucas the Loftier;
2) A sense of wonder as you realize that we aren't much different from these islanders who think they live at the Center of Everything;
3) A greater sense of wonder as you wonder whether there mightn't be sleeping giants in our world as in theirs;
4) A few good laughs at the antics of Guafnoggle the Rumblebump and Worvil the Worrier;
5) The sage Leafeater counsel, "If you can't say anything with your mouth shut while eating, don't say anything at all";
6) New perspectives on starfish, snoring, peppercorns and popular uprisings;
7) The timeless recognition that even a scruffy, underprivileged, unfortunately named ten-year-old in unfashionable clothes can become a great heroine by paying attention and being courageous.

I haven't begun to scratch the surface. There are walking trees, poisonous tortoises, buried treasure and a lost father, all presented in smiling, twinkle-eyed prose. Trafton has a knack for the witty juxtaposition of the unexpected turn of phrase with the expected rhythm of everyday language; you'll come to expect the unexpected and enjoy it all the more for the surprise. Her writing is contemporary, but sparkles with an almost Victorian glamour that most contemporary authors can't touch. Fantastic, in every good sense of the word!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Worth Reading... Again! December 7, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I got this book to read with my kids (ages 5 & 7) at bedtime. One chapter a day is our rule, but they talked me into two chapters of this book (not a hard sell), and even then I wasn't ready to quit, so I finished it after they went to sleep. I devoured it for the plot, which is delightful, exciting, and twisty. But even after a quick first read, it is clear that this novel has intricacy and depth that will be good to explore at a more leisurely pace.

Mount Majestic is worth reading for the language alone. Trafton gives us sentences worth quoting every few pages, and paragraphs you will want to read out loud, even if you're not reading it to a child (not to mention her brilliant knack at transcribing English as spoken though a very bad head cold). The characters, too, are well-drawn. They are flawed, yet heroic; they learn important lessons on their various quests for adventure, safety, beauty, and pepper; but they never once preach.

I look forward to finishing this book (again) with my children; they will get a lot out of it this year. But more than that, I look forward to reading it with them again next year, and the year after that, because this is the sort of book that will grow as they grow. Mount Majestic will linger in the imagination and bear many re-readings for years to come.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for Kids March 14, 2012
Point: Living in the face of fear is not the same as living in fear.

Path: The reader follows 10 year old Persimmony Smudge through a rolling adventure filled with jumping tortoises, short kings, secret passages, and one giant surprise.

Sources: An active imagination and a thoughtful style.

Agreement: This would be a great book to read to your child. With short chapters, catchy titles, funny characters, and good lessons this could provide excellent talking points.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book begs to be read aloud! January 9, 2011
The language in The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic is magical and pulls you into the story. When language is particularly well chosen as it is here -- the words not only tell the story but they actually shade and define and extend the meaning adding more depth and movement. As a school librarian for 30 years, I loved those books that begged to be read aloud. A child can and will read this book alone but the shared experience with a favorite adult is going to be extra special for both the adult and the child. TEACHERS this is a wonderful wonderful classroom read-aloud. The vocabulary and word play alone are worth the instructional time but then add the wonderful fanciful story and the humor of Ms Trafton's word pictures and this is a book the children will not want to end. Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bring me more pepper!! December 10, 2010
I'm always on the lookout for a fun, lighthearted book. I knew I wanted to read The Rise and Fall of Mt. Majestic when I first heard about it on Andrew Peterson's Rabbit Room website. The recommendations at The Rabbit Room have always panned out for me and resulted in some very enjoyable reads and new favorite authors. To my surprise I won a copy on a Good Reads' contest that Jennifer Trafton (the author) was holding. The book arrived a few days later and I dug right in.

I'll start by saying that the writing is superb. As AP said in his review, Jennifer really knows how to craft a sentence. The story moves along at a brisk pace with dialogue that is so wonderful I often found myself smiling. If I wasn't opposed to highlighting in my novels I would have highlighted a lot of lines that are absolutely quotable. The characters are amazing. Our lead heroine, ten-year-old Persimmony Smudge, is so adorable and likable that I really hope we get to go back to the Island at the Center of Everything in the future. While we don't get a ton of back-story on all the characters, they're fleshed out so that we understand why they are the way they are and it's a delight to see how they change and grow over the course of the story.

I most related to Worvil the Worrier, who's progression through the story made me cheer by the book's end, and bratty 12-year-old King Lucas the Loftier (I love pepper too!), who also grows quite a bit through the story. You could really feel what the characters were wrestling with and feel the weight of the situations they found themselves in.

Adding to the great story and the great characters are incredible illustrations by Brett Helquist (of Lemony Snicket fame).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best children's books written in recent years
One of the best children's books written in recent years. I can't rate it highly enough. Engaging and entirely unique story (which seems to be a rarity these days) with strong,... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Rebecca Johnson
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun and clever story
I found that the premise of this story (resolving an island's social and political conflicts so as not to wake a sleeping giant under a mountain) very original and fresh. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Oscar
5.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasure from Beginning to End
I so enjoyed The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic. The story is wildly imaginative, delightfully witty, and truly inspiring. Read more
Published 9 months ago by cleansingavenger
5.0 out of 5 stars creative
This is a brilliant and creative book by a new author. One would suppose it is a book for children, but as C.S. Lewis said, he did not write for children, and I suspect Ms. Read more
Published 10 months ago by bbfan
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for Jennifer!
As an adult, I enjoyed Ms. Trafton's first book. I think school age children will enjoy reading this fantastical book.
Published 12 months ago by Mary Jo Wilcher
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for girls and boys
I really enjoyed reading this book to my kids. The author's writing style is delightful and fun to read. My kids loved the disgruntled heroine and related to both her and the King. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Becca Louise Parker
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful story
I thoroughly enjoyed the story. I especially liked the author's skillful and unique descriptions of sights and feelings. The characters were also very well-drawn.
Published 13 months ago by Jan Bloom
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely wonderful, in a class with Tolkien and Narnia!
My wife found this book just walking through the children's section at our local library. It almost got taken back unread, but I started reading it to my eight-year-old son one... Read more
Published 19 months ago by East of Eden
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting
My wife and I both found this story to be an enchanting tale of fun and adventure. Readers young and old will love this very original story!
Published on September 4, 2012 by C.A. Curry
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, fanciful tale
Trafton's debut novel leaves me hoping for more! I lived listening to my husband read it aloud to our daughter at bedtime. Read more
Published on August 20, 2012 by Sharon
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