On Snowden Mountain

 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
96 0
On Snowden Mountain
Author(s)
Age Range
8+
Release Date
September 10, 2019
ISBN
978-0763697440
Buy This Book
      
welve-year-old Ellen learns the quiet strength of family when her mother’s deep depression prompts her to ask an estranged aunt for help.

Ellen’s mother has struggled with depression before, but not like this. With her father away fighting in World War II and her mother unable to care for them, Ellen’s only option is to reach out to her cold, distant aunt Pearl. Soon enough, city-dwelling Ellen and her mother are shepherded off to the countryside to Aunt Pearl’s home, a tidy white cottage at the base of Snowden Mountain. Adjusting to life in a small town is no easy thing: the school has one room, one of her classmates smells of skunks, and members of the community seem to whisper about Ellen’s family. But even as she worries that depression is a family curse to which she’ll inevitably succumb, Ellen slowly begins to carve out a space for herself and her mother on Snowden Mountain in this thoughtful, heartfelt middle-grade novel from Jeri Watts.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

heavy but engaging historical middle grade read
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
ON SNOWDEN MOUNTAIN is a heavy historical middle grade read, which deals with depression, alcoholism, war, domestic abuse/violence, and child abuse as well as possibly dyslexia. Ellen's father left for war, leaving her mother to fall back into her depression. Although Ellen had not experienced this before, her mother did have a history of such illness. Luckily, when Ellen contacts her Aunt Pearl, she brings Ellen and her mother home with her to Snowden.

Ellen is reluctant about going, but she learns a lot about herself, people, and her family while she is there. Although she is somewhat of an outcast, she begins to befriend a boy who is older than she but still learning to read with the younger students at school. He also smells like skunk. Russell is abused by his alcoholic father who forces him to miss school to trap skunks (because their pelts are worth a good amount of money). As Ellen gets to know Russell better, she is also able to help him learn to spell and read a bit (it seems he has dyslexia).

This book ends up being a little scary owing to the domestic/child abuse/violence, so it should be selected with some care for the maturity of readers.

What I loved: There is a lot to unpack in this book, and it uses simple terms to introduce these big concepts to young readers. This is not an easy book to read, but it does a good job of talking about depression in somewhat abstract terms (as well as showing how other people to react to it/dismiss it) and dyslexia. The historical context of the war and concessions that had to be made for rationing and the like was also interesting.

What left me wanting more: I do wish there had been more resolution/resources for Russell and his mother, but this is a part of the historical context maybe and even exists now as well.

Final verdict: This is an engaging historical middle grade read that deals with some heavy topics. While it may be worth considering the maturity of the reader in selecting this book, it does have a lot of strengths in discussing the era and presenting these topics to the reader in ways that are understandable (with discussions to be started after reading).
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

The Secret Key (Agatha Oddly)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Meet thirteen-year-old Agatha Oddly – a bold, determined heroine, and...
Skipping Forward
 
3.8
 
0.0 (0)
What if you could skip forward in time, but...
The Hand on the Wall (Truly Devious, #3)
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson delivers the...
Finding Mr. Better-Than-You
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
A heartbroken teen, with the help of her best...
Golden Chains
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Never fall in love with the enemy. If only...
Wardens of Eternity
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Magic and magical creatures. Immortal gods and goddesses. History...
Tweet Cute
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Fifteen-year-old JL Markham's life used to be filled with carnival...
The Lost Legends
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
All her life, Princess Adalina heard tales of the legendary,...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
In a series of interwoven fictionalized stories, Deborah Noyes gives...
In the Hall with the Knife
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
A murderer could be around every corner in this thrilling...
Birthday
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Boyhood meets The Sun Is Also a Star in this...
A Betrayal Exposed (Not Every Girl Book 3)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Olivia Davenport’s life is finally going smoothly, until if falls...
Freaky in Fresno
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Influencers. Movie nerds. Beauty queens. And one pink convertible. Have...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Death marked her from her very first breath. ...
Only Mostly Devastated
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Will Tavares is the dream summer fling―he's fun, affectionate, kind―but...

Latest Member Reviews

The Secret Key (Agatha Oddly)
 
4.0
"Agatha loves the work of Detective Hercule Poirot. He's actually her imaginary friend and she uses his work to influence..."
Starfell: Willow Moss & the Lost Day (Starfell, #1)
 
4.0
"STARFELL is a charming and magic-filled middle grade fantasy that sweeps young readers away into another world. Willow Moss seemed..."
Journey of the Pale Bear
 
5.0
"What an adventure I just had! From the moment, I opened the book, I was transported to the 13th century..."
Hey Grandude!
 
4.5
"'Hey Grandude!' by Paul McCartney, illustrated by Kathryn Durst, is a fun, colorful, and exciting adventure. The illustrations enhance the..."
The Peacock Detectives
 
4.0
"THE PEACOCK DETECTIVES is a story told by a young narrator, who is in Grade 6 but reads at a..."
Big Nate: Back to Back Hits: On a Roll and Goes for Broke
 
5.0
"This is a combination of two Big Nate novels; Big Nate on a Roll and Big Nate Goes For Broke...."
The Fowl Twins (The Fowl Twins, #1)
 
5.0
"I have never read the original Artemis Fowl books but now I absolutely intend to. The Fowl Twins is highly..."
Amelia Bedelia & Friends: Beat the Clock
 
5.0
"Brilliant. This was the perfect book to read with my five year old niece. It's every bit as..."
Amelia Bedelia & Friends: The Cat's Meow
 
5.0
"Cute and Fun There's no end to the adorableness of Amelia Bedelia and this book is no different. Amelia..."
The Monster Hypothesis
 
5.0
"THE MONSTER HYPOTHESIS is a really fun middle grade investigative mystery. Kick is living with her grandmother, a fake psychic..."
Carnevil (Monsterstreet #3)
 
5.0
"Ren and Kip aren't sure what to expect when they visit their Aunt for Halloween. She works at an Old..."
Stuffed
 
4.0
"STUFFED follows Clark and Foon. Clark is a boy who loves stuffed animals and feels that they keep him safe...."