________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 24 . . . . February 27, 2015


Blue Mountain.

Martine Leavitt.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press, 2014.
164 pp., trade pbk. & ePub, $14.95 (pbk.), $12.95 (epub).
ISBN 978-1-55498-423-7 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55498-424-4 (ePub).

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Sophia Hunter.

***˝ /4


Tuk and the puma child were together on the ledge. Tuk scooted backward, away from the cat’s sharp teeth, as far as he could go. His hind feet were on the vanishing edge of the shelf. The puma was a good climber, but not as good as a bighorn, and he did not have firm footing. He batted a thick paw at Tuk’s face.

“Kill,” hissed the puma mother below.

“I will fight you,” Tuk said.

“Bighorns don’t fight.” Again the puma child swatted at Tuk with his heavy paw.

Tuk thought of the eagle. “I fight,” he said.

He butted the puma child with his lamb horns. He butted as if the puma child were the eagle, as if he were Balus saying I will beat you, as if he were man and wolf and winter. He butted the puma child hard.



Blue Mountain, by Martine Leavitt, is a beautifully written tale. The protagonist, Tuk, is the largest lamb born to a bighorn in many seasons. Size is not his only distinguishing feature. He can see further than the other bighorn, allowing him to see Blue Mountain, a distant place that could save his herd from the threat of humans encroaching on their land. As territory disappears to highways, houses and farms, the bighorn lose important habitat and are pushed closer to their predators.

     The text advances slowly in careful phrases full of imagery. There are numerous richly crafted scenes where Tuk fights other animals not only for his own life but for the safety of his herd. These sections are the strongest in the book and will help to hold the interest of young readers. Tuk’s willingness to fight is another feature that distinguishes him from his kind and a key to the survival of the herd as it makes the trek to Blue Mountain.

     The book’s well-written story is complemented by a thoughtfully packaged book. The cover is enhanced with flaps and the paper is good quality, with large margins and nicely spaced text.

     Blue Mountain is highly recommended for Canadian libraries and classrooms. The environmental issues explored in the story would appeal to many youth. It would be best suited to children who are strong readers as the story might build too slowly for reluctant readers.

Highly Recommended.

Sophia Hunter is a teacher-librarian at Crofton House Junior School in Vancouver, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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