The Farthest Away Mountain by Lynne Reid Banks.
I came across this book when my daughter was only 8 or 9 (she’s now 24); we read it together as a bed time story. We both loved it and she went on to read it again herself. A couple of years ago I picked it up once again from the back of the bookshelf and knew instantly it would be a success as a class read aloud; I have read it 3 times to different year groups now!
The main character is Dakin, who lives in a small village in view of a strange mountain capped with pink, purple or sometimes green snow; no one knows why it isn’t white or why no one can reach the mountain however hard they try. Dakin wakes one morning to the sound of a voice which seems to be summoning her to the mountain and so the adventure begins.
She has to travel through the wicked wood, over the sea of spikes and fight the evil on the mountain to release it from a 200 year old spell. Along the way she meets many interesting characters; gargoyles, Croak – a 200 year old frog, Graw – a winged monster, Drackamag – an ogre and a witch.
The story is filled with twists and turns with a strong leading female character. Both the boys and girls (9-10 year olds) loved this story; asking me every time I was in their class if we going to read some more.
I’m not sure why it isn’t in print anymore but I have two copies just in case one is misplaced. I know it will remain one of my favourites – a treasured read aloud!