Maxwell's Mountain book cover image

Maxwell's Mountain

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By: Shari Becker / Illustrated by: Nicole Wong

When he spies the BIG hill—make that a mountain!—in his neighborhood park, Maxwell is determined to climb all the way to the top.

Be prepared. Use your head. These are two of the most important things Maxwell learns when he decides to tackle the mighty job of climbing the mountain in the park. The mountain is big. Maxwell is small. To prepare Maxwell reads all he can about being a great outdoorsman. He makes lists of the gear he will need and he trains hard. Only then can he convince Mom and Dad that he is ready to take on the greatest challenge of his life. With courage and tenacity (some cookies, a bottle of water, a first-aid kit, a map, a compass, and his trusty sidekick: green army man Harry), Maxwell takes on the mountain.

Young readers will be inspired by Maxwell’s grit to face their own challenges and discover their own skills. They will triumph with Maxwell and learn that big dreams are possible with patience and hard work.

Look Inside the Book:

Author & Illustrator Bios:

Shari Becker, author

Shari Becker was born in Montreal, Quebec, and was raised speaking both English and French. As a child, she spent her summers in the Adirondack Mountains catching fireflies, minnows, and toads. She has an MA from New York University and has worked for Nickelodeon, for Disney-owned companies, and even for an Emmy Award–winning puppeteer. She is the author of two picture books, including Maxwell’s Mountain, a Junior Library Guild Selection and Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book. She now lives in Brookline, Massachusetts, with her husband, their two daughters, and their dog. She loves lakes, but despises the bridges that run over them.

Read more about Shari.

Nicole Wong, illustrator

Nicole Wong is a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design. Her illustrations have been featured in the children's book Why Are You So Sad? and in several magazines and educational books. Nicole, her husband, Dan, and their dog Sable, live in Massachusetts, where they enjoy eating licorice, peanut butter cups, and jelly beans.

Read more about Nicole.

Awards & Honors:

  • A Junior Library Guild selection
  • Charlotte Zolotow Award Highly Commended
  • CCBC Choices

Editorial Reviews:


Spotting a large, tempting hill behind the playground near his new house, Maxwell employs systematic preparation to dispel his parents' conviction that he's too little to tackle the hill. After training on the stairs, gathering first-aid and food supplies, mapping his course, and listening to parental advice ("if he gets into trouble, a true outdoorsman uses his head"), Maxwell takes on the rocky slope--accompanied by an intrepid-looking toy soldier named Harry. Maxwell copes with boulders and even with temporarily losing his way, until he ultimately reaches the top and discovers a splendid view of his neighborhood and the city beyond. Wong's fine-lined, softly textured watercolor illustrations hint that Maxwell may be partly of Asian descent, but children are more likely to notice the quiet determination with which Maxwell faces each obstacle and the well-earned triumph he experiences upon reaching his goal. –John Peters

School Library Journal

An adventurous boy investigates a new park in town and finds the usual slide, swing set, and sandbox but is excited to discover there is also a mountain to climb. After Maxwell states his intent to conquer the rock-covered hill, his father explains that he must first become a great outdoorsman. Following a trip to the library, the resourceful child reads and makes a list of what he must do to get ready for his climb. The big day finally arrives and Maxwell, his parents, and his trusty toy soldier arrive at the park. The young explorer, who appears to be about seven or eight, follows the yellow dots marking the trail, which begins on a gravel path and gradually moves upward into boulders. When Maxwell temporarily loses his way, he backtracks, finds the trail again, and successfully reaches the summit. Watercolor-and-ink illustrations, mainly in tan, yellow, and green, reveal a hill that appears larger in each successive picture. The child's parents are shown standing at the base of the hill, keeping a vigilant eye on their intrepid son. A final picture reveals a triumphant Maxwell sitting on an outcropping high above the rooftops: this will thrill children while making parents a bit queasy. The toy soldier that mimics the boys every move adds a bit of whimsy to the tale. A good, solid story about making the necessary preparations for attempting to reach a goal and then achieving success. –Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI


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ISBN: 978-1-58089-212-4

ISBN: 000-0-00000-000-0 EPUB
ISBN: 000-0-00000-000-0 PDF
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Ages: 4-7
Page count: 32
8 1/x 11

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