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From the Good Mountain: How Gutenberg Changed the World

4.21  ·  Rating Details  ·  140 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
What was made of rags and bones, soot and seeds? What took a mountain to make?
For the answer, travel back to the fifteenth century—to a time when books were made by hand and a man named Johannes Gutenberg invented a way to print books with movable type.
Written as a series of riddles and illustrated in the style of medieval manuscripts by an award-winning author and artis
Hardcover, 36 pages
Published September 18th 2012 by Flash Point
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(showing 1-30 of 288)
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Lisa Vegan
Hmm. Well, I thought I’d love this book, and I did really like it. I have a special interest because I love books & reading, as did my mother. And we have a distant cousin (and author who writes historical fiction stories; in his first book he showed how he could trace the family back to a member that helped Gutenberg and helped create the printing press. Farther back was all fiction. From the printing press on the historical fiction was based on much that was factual. Though it seems a bit ...more
Nov 15, 2012 Samantha rated it really liked it
The evolution of the printing press from the pieces that it was constructed from to the process by which a book is created. This book's layout is a great. One page of text mirrors an illustration that relates to the text. Both the text and the illustration are framed and decorations surround the text while illustrations sometimes break free of their borders.

The writing style is top notch. It presents a historically significant event in a very readable book. The epilogue provides some extra info
Julie B
Oct 25, 2012 Julie B rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-book
The structure, including the question-and-response format, makes for a linear, logical, and engaging picture book introduction to Gutenberg’s printing press. I found the design lovely, and appreciated the back endpapers, nodding overtly to the transition from the moveable-type letter press of the 15th century to the electronic printing done today. Though the final backmatter spread is a bit difficult to read against the back endpaper print.

The frames around each illustration underscore, to me,
Newbury Town Library Youth Services
This story couldn't be more important to our children, who have been born into the digital age. When the time is right, I hope you will grab this book and share with them the story of Johannes Gutenberg, the man who invented movable type, and revolutionized the printed word. In simple, somewhat lyrical text and rich, stunning paintings, we journey through all the ingredients and artistry it took to make a printed book in its infancy. Take that Kindle*.

*No real offense to the Kindles and e-reader
Sep 15, 2012 Allison rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
This is an amazing way to introduce children to not only the history of books, but also the idea of where books come from: the fact that it's a long, involved process to create the little masterpiece in their hands.

Each page, with marvelous illustration, depicts the process of making something for the final product: ink, leather for the cover, individual letters, the press itself. Detailed and amazing, without overwhelming us with too much information - clear and thorough.
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Enjoyed the question format of this book
Jan 14, 2013 Tasha rated it it was amazing
A mysterious object appeared in Germany in the 15th Century. “It was made of rags and bones, soot and seeds. It wore a dark brown coat and was filled with gold. It took lead and tin, strong oak, and a mountain to make it.” To find out the answer to this clever riddle that appears on the first page of this book, readers will visit the 15th century and meet Johannes Gutenberg, who has invented a way to print books with movable type. The riddle is not left at the first page, but is the center of th ...more
Joy Corcoran
Jan 07, 2013 Joy Corcoran rated it it was amazing
The story begins, “It was made of rags and bones, soot and seeds. It wore a dark brown coat and was filled with gold. It took lead and tin, strong oak and a mountain to make it. What was it?”

The whole process of the first book is then told, from how the paper was made, to how the printing press was constructed, and how the pages were sewn together. You really get a sense of the time and energy it took to make a book. Although it was not a simple process, it did make books easier to publish and e
Audra Rowell
Jan 11, 2013 Audra Rowell rated it really liked it
From the Good Mountain: How Gutenberg Changed the World is absolutely a fantastic read. It presents the history of Gutenberg's printing press in almost a riddle-like form. Each part of the printing process gets a two-page layout. The first describes how the particular component was created, ending with a question. The opposite page provides the layout of the process being describe and the answer to the question. I could see some kids not really understanding the technical descriptions of how som ...more
Dec 29, 2014 Thager rated it it was amazing
I love picture book biographies and I especially love them about relatively obscure figures (at least to most elementary students). This book is a work of art, beautifully illustrated. Not only, does the reader learn about Gutenberg, but papermaking, printing, medieval life - it is rich with information! I recently read this aloud to 3rd graders and they had a blast trying to solve each riddle. We had a great discussion about how the printed book really did change the world.
Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
Mar 22, 2013 Elizabeth (Miss Eliza) rated it did not like it
Shelves: school_books, library
Stupid riddles. Also, the riddles make it out that Johannes Gutenberg created the first book! WTF! I mean, the author does correct this in the boring epilogue, but who the hell besides me is going to read that? The artwork, which took, what, two years to do, was blah as well. I won't even say how pissed I am at the last page with type illegible over a computer chip... ok, I did say it. But it basically gave you tons of words which where hard to read to google. Why not have a dictionary or someth ...more
Morgan Duplechin
Sep 17, 2014 Morgan Duplechin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2014
I went into this book knowing virtually nothing about Johannes Gutenburg. This book was great! It started out with a riddle which helped to make you more interested in the book. It gives just the right amount of information for those who just want a brief biography without all of the boring details.
Jan 14, 2015 Vicki rated it really liked it
I really liked the premise of this book. It's an historical picture book with gory details. I can't imagine why all children wouldn't appreciate it. But I think it requires a vigorous read out loud
Nov 06, 2014 Lelandic rated it it was amazing
Great for those inquisitive who enjoy learning about invention, design and how things work - and about the people/time that produced them. Well written.
Feb 22, 2015 Meg rated it it was amazing
I love this author's approach to telling this story. It was really interesting and informative.
Lisa Overberg
Sep 11, 2013 Lisa Overberg rated it it was amazing
What was "made of rags and bones, soot and seeds?" Told in riddles is the story of early printing and book creation and the difficulties in fabricating all the necessary materials. The book gives just enough detail to intrigue young readers, and concludes with additional information about Gutenberg and the evolution of books. The illustrations include rich backgrounds, examples of manuscripts, and side plots of fifteenth-century life.

Genre: Biography, informational
Reading level: 6.4
Grade levels:
Dec 10, 2013 Jocelyn rated it liked it
Shelves: t-l-544
Genre: biography
Copyright: 2012

This is a story about how Gutenberg changed the world since he created the way for printing. Before introducing how he created printing, the ways to make paper, leather, gold leaf, ink, printing types,and printing press are introduced first because those are essential elements that could make the printing skill succeed. What Gutenberg did has changed the world influentially. Before he created the printing skill, books were copied by hand. After printing skill is in
Feb 12, 2013 Lucy rated it really liked it
How Gutenberg (the good mountain) came to produce books. What crafts and items went into the process? From rags came paper. From goats came leather. From Africa came gold for the gold-leaf. From seeds came ink. From melted lead came printing type. From wood came the printing press. From the city of Mainz came Johannes Gutenberg. From all these came the first printed books in Europe. This book is illustrated in pictures similar to illuminations from early manuscripts.
The epilog gives a brief his
Mar 07, 2014 Sue rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent picture book!
Gutenberg was the first European to use movable type printing. What mysterious thing came from Mainz (Germany) that was made of rags and bones, soot and seeds, covered in leather and decorated with gold? What did lead and tin, strong oak and a mountain make? A printed book. Through a series of questions and vibrant illustrations, we see book-making as artistry. The epilogue talks about Gutenberg's Bibles and muses over how books may change in the future.
Nov 25, 2012 Jen rated it liked it
Shelves: pb
I think this book may need a strong recommendation for a kid to pick it up and take it seriously. It has neat illustrations, but SO MANY WORDS. also, there is a lot of vocab specific to print making. If a kid tries to read it from a "let's find out what the clues tell us" viewpoint (which the book does encourage, in all it's wordiness) then they might be more engaged. It has a lot of correct historical info that even I learned from, so that's good.
A beautiful book . . . especially for booklovers. Rumford has done his research here, explaining why he depicts Gutenberg without a beard and his sources of inspiration (Jan van Eyck, medieval manuscripts). Illustrations often recall illuminated medieval manuscripts. Text is presented in riddles, of what materials were needed to construct a book -- from the predictable like paper and ink, to the lead for the metal types and wood for the machine.
Teresa Garrett
The cover of this book made me wonder which of my students would enjoy it so I took it home to read. This is the story of Johann Gutenberg and his invention of movable type. The book is illustrated much as his books would have been. There is a series of riddles about each step he followed to publish his books. At the end there is some more history regarding him and his life. The author also includes historical notes and resources.
This book, told in rhyme, was focused primarily on what went into the creation of the first book published with a printing press. It was very interesting, though more for its attention to printing press details than its biographical information. The epilogue did a great job filling in the detail of Gutenberg's life. I truly enjoyed this book. I'm not sure children would be so enthused, but I was.
Jan 14, 2013 Ramarie rated it really liked it
The detail, the care, that went into the first typeset book, is wondrously depicted in this picture book biography. The illustrations are gorgeous, and the end papers are revealing, as the images morph from gold leaf to circuit will the book evolve as we go forward? With deep respect for the past but an open mind to the future, this book struck a chord with me.
Anja Manning
Nov 14, 2012 Anja Manning rated it it was amazing
An excellent approach to introduce Gutenberg's inventions, down to how colors were made. I agree with some reviews that the invention receives more attention that Gutenberg himself. In that respect this is not a pure biography.

The illustrations are beautiful, and contain humorous details, such as a wall hanging that says "non omne quod nitet aurum est".
Feb 05, 2013 Marcia rated it really liked it
The story of Johannes Gutenberg and his invention that changed the world.I really enjoyed the story, told in a riddle format that will astound and entertain children. Lots of nice details, from the end papers to the illuminated manuscript look of the illustrations. An important book to read to our Kindle and Nook toting children.
Cindy Dobrez
I WANT this book. I once dressed as Gutenberg for a New Year's Eve historical figure party. Only one person knew who I was. Every year when the 6th graders research scientists and inventors I tell the kid who has Gutenberg that I will give him extra help for selecting my favorite inventor! I NEED THIS BOOK.
Dec 16, 2012 Tisha rated it really liked it
Beautiful illustrations accompany this fascinating glimpse into Gutenberg and the famous printing press he made. Who knew the ink was made from flax seeds and pine tree pitch soot? Or that the paper was made from rags, hooves and bone? Loved this book and hope it wins a Siebert award.
Nitza Campos
Dec 02, 2012 Nitza Campos rated it it was amazing
Shelves: grades-3-6
Every library should have this book in their collection. The first half of this book is told in riddles about how the first printed book was made and what was needed to make the first printed book. A striking book in the way it is told and in the illustrations.
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I have been writing, illustrating, and designing children's books since 1996. I am on the verge of self-publishing through books that are printed on demand and via the internet. For more on my children's books, see my website: I also have a blog about writing and illustrating children's books at Besides commercially published books, ...more
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