THE MOUNTAIN AND THE GOAT
Written by Siamak Taghaddos
Illustrated by Zachary Cain
Poetti Books 4/1/2020
38 Pages Age 4—8
Genre: Children’s Picture Book, Fiction
Themes: Fables, Entrepreneurship, Decision Making
“Growing up, my father taught me an old Persian poem that has a profound impact on my liufe. It taught me to seize the opportunities that lige theows at us and to always be resourceful. It inspired me to write this story to plant the seed of entrepreneurship and take-action mentality in children, and to help them understand that it’s the everyday, small actions that lead to bigger and better results. I hope this book helps spark a lifetime of progression.”—Siamak (from back cover)
I ran and I ran
to the mountain, I ran.
There I saw a goat
who sang and sang.
Why I like The Mountain and the Goat
As the story begins, the main character, who is nameless and unseen, runs up a mountain. He or she runs and runs until they run into a goat, which happens to sing. The goat gives the runner water, bread, and advice. “Do as you wish, but plan ahead.”
The mountain runner eats the bread and then waters the ground. The wet soil produces grass, which a cow eats. The cow returns the gesture by giving the runner milk. These trades continue until the runner gets what he or she ultimately wants—a tree house and a nap.
Along the way, the runner must make decisions, which will benefit both the short (the next trade) and the long-term (the tree house). The goal of the fable, per author, Siamak Taghaddos, is to “plant a seed of entrepreneurship and resourcefulness” in the reader. Beginning with the chance encounter with the goat, the runner makes decisions and thoughtful trades. Eventually, these trades bring the runner back to his or her father. The father trades lumber for a new pair of glasses and his help building the tree house.
Many years ago, on the Internet when it was a young web, someone took on the challenge to change a red rubber band and trade it for a house. It took a while, but using the same approach as the runner, the man traded the rubber band, and then traded the new object for something a little better. Each trade was better than the last until finally, he traded (I believe) a car for a house. The Mountain and the Goat, and the real trading for a rubber band for a house, teach readers the possibilities good decisions, planning, and trades can make for someone trying to start a viable business.
The illustrations are stark and to the point. They resemble what you expect to see, for example, a goat with bread and water to give away, a cow eating grass, and the final tree house with sleeping occupants denoted by “ZZZZZ’s” rising above the roof. Oddly, never do we actually see the mountain runner, not even in the last two spreads. We do see the father, happily laboring. Artist, Zachary Cain, made his characters diverse, with both the tailor and the doctor having dark skin, though not the same shade. The illustrations are simple and direct, just like the text, making the two a perfect match.
Children will understand each spread and its purpose in the story. Most children have made a simple trade, be it an apple for an orange at lunch. They tend to understand the principle of getting more than you give, though the value can be subjective. Children may find it interesting that simple trades, just like the type they make, can produce wonderful results with a little forethought and planning. The Mountain and the Goat will show children the result may take time and work, but with planning and thinking, they can make trading work for them, just as it did the mountain runner in this interesting fable.
I enjoyed each spread near equally, but if forced to choose, I would pick the two spreads with the tailor. He is in a tent in the middle of nowhere, with all he needs to make a coat. The spreads are colorful and full of detail, though most spreads have those characteristics. I like the slope of the tent and the ropes holding each corner taunt. Aesthetically, I like those spreads.
Available at Amazon (not yet available)
THE MOUNTAIN AND THE GOAT. Text Copyright © 2020 by Siamak Taghaddos. Illustrations copyright © 2020 by Zachary Cain. Published by Poetti Books, Las Vegas, NV.
Copyright © 2020 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
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