The Mountain That Loved a Bird, by Alice McLerran ISBN 0590468480
Five out of five stars
This children’s story is an encapsulation of how new mountains are encroached on by nature, going from the initial bare rock to vibrant green ecosystems. It starts with a mountain that is sad because it is all bare rock, there are no plants growing on it and so there are no creatures as well. Finally, the boredom is broken a tiny bit when a bird lands on the mountain for a short rest. The mountain expresses a desire for the bird to stay but it can’t. It is looking for a place to build a nest and without food, water or any nesting materials, it cannot build a nest on the mountain and live there. Therefore, the bird soon flies away. While it is not stated, people with knowledge of biology will understand that it almost certainly left behind a small deposit of organic material.
The bird and its descendants come back each year for a short time until a seed is brought and deposited in a crevasse. It sprouts and the roots begin to penetrate the cracks in the rock and start the generation of new topsoil. In later years more seeds are brought to the mountain and after many years, what was once only barren rock is now a lush, green forest with many insects and wild creatures.
It is a standard section of Earth science to study how new mountains are slowly colonized by plants, insects and animals until the areas below the tree line are green forests teeming with wild creatures. This book describes that evolution in an entertaining and educational way. It may seem to be a fairy tale, but it is in fact a science lesson.