Dial Books for Young Readers, 2010.  Ages 8-11.     IndieBound   •   Amazon   •   Barnes & Noble   •   Allbookstores.com   •   The Rabbit Room

Dial Books for Young Readers, 2010.  Ages 8-11. 
IndieBound • Amazon • Barnes & Noble • Allbookstores.com • The Rabbit Room

The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic 

Oh, how ten-year-old Persimmony Smudge longs for Glory! Heroism! Adventure! But instead she leads a very dull life on the Island at the Center of Everything, weaving baskets and sweeping floors. Until, that is, the night she overhears a life-changing secret. It seems that Mount Majestic, the rising and falling mountain at the center of the island, is not a mountain at all. It’s the belly of a sleeping giant! Now it’s up to Persimmony and her new friend Worvil the Worrier to convince all the island’s other quarreling inhabitants—the Rumblebumps, the Leafeaters, and most of all, the stubborn young king—that a giant is sleeping in their midst, and must not be woken.

With dazzling illustrations by the legendary Brett Helquist, Jennifer Trafton’s fantastical debut tells the story of one brave girl's efforts to make an entire island believe the impossible.

Maps, Poisonous Tongues, and Sweet Potato Soup

I was honored that The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic was named one of four finalists for the 2013 National Homeschool Book Award, which celebrates "great fiction that shines a positive light on what learning outside a traditional classroom looks like." The website included activities related to each of the books and suggestions for how to start a book club in your area. I was so impressed by the creative ideas they came up with for The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic . . .

I love maps and was thrilled when my publisher asked me to draw Persimmony's map of the Island at the Center of Everything (the one that appears in the opening pages of the book). The NHBA folks have put together a great introduction to "creative cartography." Did you know that the founder of the Boy Scouts was a spy who drew secret maps on diagrams of butterfly wings? I didn't either!

Kids are always asking me, "Where did you get the idea for . . . ?" Sometimes the best answer I can give is, "It popped into my head and made me laugh." This was the case with the poison-tongued jumping tortoises. The NHBA website has fascinating facts about tortoises and tongues and an activity sheet to help you invent your own crazy new animal.

In honor of King Lucas's devotion to sweet potato soup (with lots of pepper), the NHBA book group taste-tested three different recipes, appropriately named King Lucas Sweet Potato Soup, Majestic Sweet Potato Soup, and "Pepper Isn't the Only Spice" Sweet Potato Soup. Try them all--I plan to!

Read the Original Query

The Guide to Literary Agents blog invited me to post my original query letter to my agent Steven Malk of Writers House, along with Steve's reasons for taking me on as a client. It was fun to revisit that letter after six years, and—judging from the outpouring of interest in the blog comments and on Twitter—I was surprised at how many people found my rather unorthodox (I may say a bit crazy) approach inspiring. So here it is: enjoy!

Persimmony Smudge as an Oreo?

This definitely wins the prize for most creative fan art. Made on the 100th anniversary of the Oreo by the inimicable Rebecca Reynolds, these delicate carvings of King Lucas, Persimmony, Mount Majestic, a pepper shaker, and a giant's nose definitely take the cake . . . er, cookie.

Framed as an account written by Professor Barnabas Quill, ‘Historian of the Island at the Center of Everything,’ Trafton’s debut is a lively adventure about magical pots, pepper, manners, poison-tongued jumping tortoises, poetic soldiers, and downtrodden yet resilient heroine Persimmony Smudge. . . . Trafton imbues her tale with a delightful sense of fun and fascinating, well-rounded characters—playful wordsmithing and flowing dialogue make this an excellent choice for bedtime read-aloud.
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Trafton creates a unique setting with unusual and detailed characters, including the playful Rumblebumps, the polite but dangerous Leafeaters, and the selfish 13-year-old king who has no regard for his subjects. Persimmony’s sense of adventure and determination make her an entertaining heroine.
— School Library Journal (starred review)
There’s a funny, witty read ahead, as we follow Persimmony, who must be lost in a significant way, and then, yes, found, in search of a much more interesting tale under the ‘Center of Everything’— literally a sleeping giant—than anyone else knew. . . . A good book for the family to read aloud.
— Chicago Tribune
The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic is a book just made for a family to share, with enough wit to keep grown-ups amused and enough action to keep kids wanting one more chapter. . . . Clearly, Jennifer Trafton has an affinity for Lewis Carroll’s wordplay and Roald Dahl’s creatures, most especially his Oompa-Loompas. The island’s inhabitants include the swimming, giggling Rumblebumps and the humorless, courteous Leafeaters. Be sure to assign the read-aloud role to someone good at voices.
— Cleveland Plain Dealer
With language that trips and dips and twirls and swirls off the tongue, and zings merrily through mind and heart alike, The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic will delight readers young and old. Whimsical, wonder-full, and witty, Jennifer Trafton’s tale of the big, breathing-in ups and the gigantic, breathing-out downs of the extraordinary inhabitants of the Island at the Center of Everything is magical—a buoyant, lively debut and a great read-aloud!
— Ingrid Law, Newberry Honor winning author
Fantastic and fun, Trafton’s debut is for anyone who loves to let their imagination run loose. (Recommended reading position: on your back with a toy building — such as a Monopoly hotel — balanced on your stomach.)
— Where the Best Books Are