Under the Mountain – a read aloud review

Maurice Gee was one of my favourite authors as a child. I’ve read a lot of his books and loved the TV series that were adapted from his works.

Our final Unit of Inquiry for the year was on earth forces. I thought I would have trouble finding a book appropriate for Year 4 to listen which would also integrate with our unit of inquiry.

Under the Mountain turned out to be the perfect book. A story of two twins on a quest to save the world from the dark and mysterious creatures.

There was plenty of action and adventure to keep the class gripped while at the same time the plot mentions of Auckland’s volcanic field nicely tied in with our unit.

What I liked about this book was that there were plenty of points for the children to make predictions and get them wrong. They were convinced that Mr Jones was a wizard before he revealed his true identity.

There were also obvious plot links between Harry Potter and Under the Mountain. The presence of a prologue, children marked with physical features, a guest to do battle with good and evil, an old man to watch to help guide the children.

Towards the end of the book, we looked at the trailer for the movie adaptation and noticed the differences between the book at the movie. The movie itself did not receive rave reviews and due to being a PG13, it wasn’t a movie I could show in class.

However I did manage to track down an old copy of the TV series on Youtube. While the special effects in the TV series have aged, the story still appeals to children 35 years after Under the Mountain was published.


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