Iowa Alumni Magazine | December 2008 | Reviews

Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains by Laurel Snyder

By IAM Staff

In her debut children's novel, Laurel Snyder delivers the fantastical tale of Wynston and Lucy, who encounter countless surprises along their trek Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains.

Prince Wynston and Lucy the milkmaid are best friends. Inseparable for most of their lives, the duo's days of frolicking and teasing in the Bewilderness become threatened when King Desmond insists that Wynston spend more time finding a proper princess to marry.

Lucy, considered by law "unsuitable" marriage material, feels sad and lonely. So, she strikes out for the Scratchy Mountains in hopes of solving the mystery of her missing mother. Wynston follows in her wake, and, together, they face many quirky adventures—filled with unusual characters, gentle creatures, and silly songs. The story's moral teaches valuable lessons about friendship and that sometimes, you've got to bend the rules.

Snyder's picture book, Inside the Slidy Diner—an eerie place inhabited by a curious little girl named Edie—is loosely based on Iowa City's Hamburg Inn.Beautifully illustrated, the book features wigglepedes and pumpkin asparagus pie and assorted creepy happenings sure to ignite a child's imagination.