Up the Mountain Path
Up the Mountain Path
Mrs. Badger is very old.
She’s seen many things.
Some can be found in her kitchen.
The collection of the things we see here, such as pebbles and a bird’s nest, reflects Mrs. Badger’s time spent in the fields around her cozy house and on regular trips up Sugarloaf Mountain. Every Sunday, she sets off from the valley to scale the peak and visit with her favourite creatures along the way.
She is ready to help the friends she meets and share her observations of things around. When she encounters a little cat on the trail, she encourages Lulu to accompany her. Reluctance becomes enjoyment as the new companion proves an eager student. The detail of what they both see and how Mrs. Badger explains new experiences to Lulu provide much of the charm of the text. This feels like a real journey.
“Why do trees have leaves?”
“To greet the sun.”
“Where are the ants going?”
“Where the road leads them.”
Lulu asks a lot of questions.
“Look what I found. Can I eat it?” [a mouse!]
“That’s Suzie!” [So, no, apparently Lulu can’t eat it.]
It’s a long hard climb up the mountain, even with an appropriately sized walking stick for each of them. But it is obviously worth the effort when they reach the summit to revel in the view.
The hike up Sugarloaf Mountain turns into a weekly date, but, as Lulu gains in knowledge and confidence, Mrs. Badger grows weaker and slows down to the point where she is content to stay home at her cottage and enjoy the accounts of Lulu’s discoveries after each expedition.
What begins as a nature lesson turns into life lesson as the pupil becomes the teacher. At the end, Lulu takes on a young rabbit to be her student of the mountain, discovering new paths and honouring the legacy of Mrs. Badger.
Dubuc is both author and illustrator of this sweet offering with its precise and detailed pencil and watercolour illustrations. A palette of soft greens and browns helps immerse readers in the pastoral world that is Sugarloaf Mountain. Although the story is rather lengthy for a picture book and will not be useful in a group setting, there is a whole lot to discover here for the careful young looker and reader.
Up the Mountain Path is definitely a book for preschool and kindergarten collections in school and public libraries.
Ellen Heaney is retired children’s librarian living in Coquitlam, British Columbia.