Snow Leopard: Grey Ghost of the the Mountain

Authored by Justin Anderson
Illustrated by Patrick Benson
Published by Walker Books

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Fact and fiction working in harmony.

The narrative is delicate – almost like a whisper as if you were on the lookout of a glimpse of the Grey Ghost. Throughout the narrative, facts are cleverly woven into the fabric of the story. Purposeful and pertinent facts add depth to the delicacy of the story.

There are parts of the text that you could imagine David Attenborough narrating as the illustration come to life in your imagination. As you get to the final pages of this text, you learn the organic links between Attenborough, Planet Earth II and the author. The joy that the Snow Leopards manifested for the author is palpable in each page. The deep care and respect he must feel towards them sings from the pages too. Benson’s illustrations are reminiscent of Jackie Morris. There is a tenderness to each illustration. It’s almost as if you stroked the page; you could feel the soft, dappled fur of the Snow Leopards. Beautiful.

This is a book to be enjoyed first, then investigated. I believe it is a clever way to introduce non-fiction to children, especially with the use of an index page. However, a glossary would be a good addition too: words like ‘summit’, ‘boulders’, ‘camouflage’ would have added further depth and pertinence to the non-fiction elements of the text. I appreciated the extra information at the end of the book as it not only answered some of my questions but sparked further interest.

There are many roads of discovery to be paved from this text: snow leopards, wildlife, conservation, cultures and traditions, habitats, geography, science.