Saturday, April 18, 2015

Trash Mountain by Jane Yolen

Blue Mountain was the first book I reviewed this year where the main protagonist was an animal and this offering from prodigious author Jane Yolen is the second. Trash Mountain introduces us to a quiet corner of the world where little red squirrel Nutley lives in a cozy hole with his mother and father. His parents are very protective because fate has not dealt kindly with his other siblings and Nutley is the only one left.

His father in particular has taught him various maxims about life which Nutley quotes all the time. My favorite is Things with Wings are not to be trusted. There is a pack of gray squirrels close by and despite his parents' warnings Nutley is determined to approach them to see if they will accept a paw of friendship.

Later on in the book after a serious accident Nutley must fend for himself and this leads him to the titular trash mountain atop of which stands a white box.  The white box is revered and feared by the animals due to its mystical powers. Nutley as you would expect meets some other allies during the course of his adventures and finds that he must test the veracity of some of father's maxims as he makes his own way in life.

The book has a few messages that stood out to me. The primary one was the importance of cooperation and of travel in order to broaden one's horizons (in the book we see a literal example of this) when Nutley rescues another animal whom were he still with his parents he would never have approached.  The main message however and the reason that I think the book is given its title is the need for man to recycle and to use less of things. Trash piles affect the environment in innumerable ways and cause damage to animals far and wide. I enjoyed this book and I recommend it for ages 9+.

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