3 out of 4 stars
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When you were four years old and your parents bought you ice-cream, it probably never occurred to you to save it for another time. This is probably because childhood is a golden age of imagination, filled with wonder and mystique, and to this fantastical realm of unicorns and tooth fairies is this "I'll eat later" ice-cream relegated; as mythical, intangible, and just as desirable as the former two magnificent beings.
The small seed of instant gratification as we grow morphs into various hindrances of discipline, like overspending, procrastination, and other forms of overindulgence. As you grow older, it gets increasingly difficult to train yourself to think of the future, and act in service to it all the time. Therefore, destructive habits should be nipped in the bud, corrected in the formative years, while the mind is young and malleable. If this is a lesson you'd like to start teaching your four-year-old, Siamak Taghaddos offers a very valuable helping hand in the form of The Mountain and the Goat.
The story is narrated by an unnamed main character who encounters a cheerful goat that gifts him bread, water and the advice to plan ahead. Throughout the book, we get to see what planning ahead means to this character, the choices and sacrifices he makes, and what he achieves in the end. The Mountain and the Goat is a wonderful book that teaches kids to see the bigger picture, be considerate, and plan creatively. This, aside from the beautiful, vibrant illustrations included, was my favourite element of the book.
There is always a way to use what you have to get what you want, one step at a time. This is illustrated by how the narrator trades what he has at the start to gain something else to barter with, until he ultimately achieves his goal, and only then does he rest. These strong values encouraged are the reason I find a rating of 3 out of 4 stars fitting. I loved that the work also shows that kids should notice when their parents need assistance, and help accordingly. Additionally, how it highlights the ephemeralness of instant gratification deserves more than two stars, not to mention the lack of errors in the work.
I had to leave out one star because I felt that the book did not emphasise to children to be kind even when they don't expect anything in return. All the kindness shown in the read is quite transactional, and even when the main character helps out their father, something is granted in return. Be that as it may, I feel that all kids between three and seven years of age would learn a lot from this book, provided the parent supplements the story with his or her own additional lessons. Older kids might find the work a bit too brief or unrealistic, and would spot quite a few story inconsistencies.
The Mountain and The Goat
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