Mabel and the Mountain: A Story About Believing in Yourself

Penguin Workshop. Jan. 2024. 32p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780593659021.
PreS-K–Mabel is a small fly with big dreams in this richly illustrative work about believing in oneself. Mabel’s big dreams are to climb a mountain, host a dinner party, and make friends with a shark. Cheerfully disconnected goals aside, Mabel has family and friends who cast doubts on whether a small fly can do any of these things, and Mabel’s first goal of climbing a mountain dominates most of the story. Mabel displays resilience and determination and works hard. She worries about her goal, and there are others who seem better suited, but Mabel is ultimately successful. Hillyard masterfully illustrates Mabel’s emotions. Her use of fine pen lines and paint glow around Mabel as she doubts herself on the mountain climb. Yet the next spread opens to a relief from the darkness, with the moon and a shooting star. Textured ground softens the hardness of Mabel’s fear and a small voice reminds her to “keep going.” When Mabel returns to host her dinner party, her friends and family are excited with ideas and challenges because she has shown them that the smallest of flies can accomplish big dreams.
VERDICT A first purchase for all libraries serving young children, this is an excellent story about belief and resilience.

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