“On a dark night in a dense forest, while the great wide wonder of the stormy sea threatened to burst through the trees and swallow her up, a girl lost her hat.”

With this sentence, The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic opens. Jennifer Trafton uses this sentence to grab hold of you and thrust you into a story with unforgettable adventure, unique characters, and chapter titles clever enough to be stories all on their own.

What sort of a name is Smudge? To ten-year-old Persimmony, a girl living a boring life on the Island at the Center of Everything, it is a name that could never be remembered as brave or heroic. Which is unfortunate, because those are the qualities Persimmony Smudge would like to possess.

The loss of her hat, though seemingly unimportant, sets Persimmony on quite an unexpected expedition. Something is odd about Mount Majestic, the mountain lying in the center of the island. Unlike most mountains that stand mightily and perfectly still, this one breathes.

The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic is meant for an eight to twelve-year-old age range, but I also recommend this book to teenagers and adults—for its storyline as well as the way it is written. Anyone who enjoys or wants to write children’s literature should read this story. It is one of those books that will fill you with childlike wonder—especially its descriptions that allow your imagination to take flight. As a writer, observing Trafton’s stylistic techniques and storytelling model will improve your own writing.

This story also contains little gems of truth: “Who puts words of truth into the strings of a Lyre? Perhaps there are some things that we are not meant to understand. Without a few mysteries and a few giants, life would be a very small thing after all.” (Page 256) As a Christian, Jennifer Trafton’s worldview boldly comes through, and those simple quotes and character’s thoughts are where Truth lies.

If you are looking for a story with playful characters and surprising events, you might want to consider The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic, and who knows, you just might discover a few giants along the way.