On Hunger Mountain, there lived a great lord who was wealthy and had anything he ever dreamed of. He lived in the tallest pagoda, had his rice washed in the stream, ate only the first half of his food, and wore the most beautiful fabrics. Then drought came to his land, yet the lord did not stop his consumption. A second year of drought and famine came and the others left his land. The lord finally realized he would starve alone in his pagoda so he left the mountain and tried to find food. When he met two beggars, they told him of a generous monk who would give others food. The monk gave the lord food and the cat realized that this was lovely grain and some of the best he had ever eaten. He asked the monk where he had gotten the rice and was told that it was washed down the river from Hunger Mountain where a wealthy lord had wasted it.
Young writes this story with real precision. He keeps his prose short and child-friendly with a tone of a storyteller who offers just enough detail yet keeps the pace brisk. Young allows the story itself to stand, not adding judgment in the text about what should be learned from it.
The illustrations are the opposite of the pared down text with a rich opulence built from layered collage. Some of the collage is patterned paper while others are photographs of fur, water or mountains. They have a serious energy to them, filled with motion and expression.
A vibrant picture book that looks at waste, consumption and humility. Appropriate for ages 5-8.
Reviewed from library copy.