Friday, March 12, 2010

The mountain that loved a bird


Written by- Alice Mclerran
Illustrations-Stephen Aitken
Age- 3+ read aloud, 6+ read alone
The mountain that loved a bird is one of the few Tulika books that we own by a foreign writer, in this case- Alice Mclerran. The international edition is illustrated by Eric Carle and has a very different look as compared to this one with illustrations by Stephen Aitken.

A barren and desolate, grey mountain is visited by a bird named Joy. The mountain has never been touched till then. It feels the magic of companionship. ( so poetic and strong was this metaphor that I had goosebumps when I was reading it to Anushka)

The mountain is enchanted by Joy's singing and is so desirous of her warmth, that it asks her to stay on. But the conditions are not conducive for this. However Joy, most thoughtfully, promises that each year she will make a visit. Since a bird's life span is short, she also explains that she would ensure that each generation of her clan will have a bird named Joy, thereby ensuring annual visits to the mountain for the times when her life ends.

The mountain looks forward to the visits but is bereft and lonely, each time Joy leaves. This goes on for years ( 99 years). Then after a visit from Joy, the mountain literally breaks down and cracks inside. It begins to weep and the tears form a stream.

This year Joy brings a seed which thrives on the tears and there grows a tree whose roots fills into the cracks. Joy brings more seeds each year. Each sensation of life brings hope but not joy to the mountain. A whole ecosystem evolves on the now flourishing mountain.

Finally Joy brings a twig making a permanent home on the mountain , never to leave it again. And the mountain is Joyous!

The illustrations are soulful and the use of rich orange makes Joy look very warm. Go here for more art from this book.

The book apart from being a hopeful tale of devoted friendship ( even long distance ones) helped me introduce concepts such as migration and ecosystem to Anushka. It comes at a time when we are moving places and hence is even more dear to us.

The lyrical story is in one word uplifting. I read this book often- as much for myself as for Anushka.

13 comments:

ranjani.sathish said...

Art, we have read this book too and enjoyed it. A beautiful idea well presented. I did not know there was an international edition with Eric Carle !

ChoxBox said...

Echo Ranjani - have enjoyed this book, and did not know about the Eric Carle version :)

artnavy said...

Japan is the latest to dramtise this book I understand- it must be wonderful their take on the story...

Tharini said...

Sigh. This is so soul stirring and touching. I hope I find the Eric Carle version here. Thanks Art, for such a sensitive sharing.

Praba said...

sorry, Art! Of course, I know you are moving.:)

What a charming story about a friendship in nature! I liked how you have incorporated ideas to discuss ecosystem, migration and also, your own personal move. Such a moving review, Art! (no pun intended:))

sathish said...

very interesting. now, onto looking out for this book.

ssstoryteller said...

This is a wonderful story, that we as adults can relate too...
I have used it on one occasion, when we had to bid farewell to some ladies...
its trully a moving story...
actually I found it online( and had heard it before in a story telling session)...but I did not know it is available in print...
now I can look out for it...
thanks

artnavy said...

satish- we got it at sutradar

tara- tell me how u like it once u read it

praba- yes! pun fun!

ssstoryteller- u must and would love to hear you perform stories- u still in blore?

ssstoryteller said...

:(( am not in Blore...otherwise I wld have met up with the ST team ..artnavy/vibha/ranjani/sathish...and..?

The first time I heard it was by Mrs.Geeta Ramanujam (kathalaya)...and yes we had goosebumps/tears
the beauty of the tellers interpretation also adds to the story...

artnavy said...

SS- Oh. Chox, poppy are also from Blore. We (artnavy) move month end

I am looking forwrad to more exposure to story tellers in Blore-I think Rang shankara does a lot and so does Hippocampus ...

Alice McLerran said...

I'm the author of the story, and to my eye Stephen Aitken's new art, first created for India, works better with my words that did the images of the earlier edition. I'm pleased that use of this art is spreading globally, most recently to China and Tanzania.

Tulika has sold out its English printing of this title and has no plans to reprint in that language. (Its editions in other languages of India remain available.) Happily, Parrots Books -- a web-bookseller offering Tulika editions and other books in Hindi to families -- can provide the similar English-language Tanzanian edition at a very affordable price. This latest Aitken edition features the same lovely art developed for the Tulika edition, plus a new cover redesigned by the artist that I like even better than the first one.

I have just created (and will continue to add to) a new website that I invite you to visit. There, you can learn about this title's unique history, my other books, and my life. Its home page offers links to the listing of this title at Parrots Books, and to my email address.

I love hearing from readers!

artnavy said...

Honoured to hear from you Alice.

Like I said this book reached out to us and we just love it

Will surely visit your site....and Parrot books too if they offer as lovely a spread as Tulika does...

artnavy said...

I got the Eric Carle illustrated version by Scholastic in the Book Fair- I loved the cover and the final pic in this edition is truly gorgeous!

But the Tulika version - the inner pics were more moving

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