Book Review and Interview: In The Hall of the Mountain King

In The Hall of the Mountain King: LadyD Books
Edward Grieg wrote a very popular song that my students love to play around the holidays, In The Hall Of The Mountain King. It has a real cool sound, with a staccato bass and right hand, that is played so quick and lively. (Allegro moderato)

Amazon Snippet

This beautifully illustrated story brings to life Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg's musical masterpiece and Henrik Ibsen's timeless characters. Geared toward children 5-9, the story will delight readers as the action mirrors the movement of the music it's based on. Includes a CD with orchestral performances of "In the Hall of the Mountain King" and four other pieces from the "Peer Gynt Suite." Lesson plans and a puppet-making sheet are available from the author's website. "This is a pitch-perfect book that will capture the attention of an entire classroom. . . . Despite the fact that this is a perfect book for any family, teacher, or caregiver with an appreciation for music, Flannery's retelling stands alone as a wonderful story for all picture book fans."-- The Children's Book Review

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 34 pages
  • Publisher: Samizdat Publishing; 1ST edition (2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193863313X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1938633133

My Review

This is the perfect book for young musicians and piano teachers. I'm proud to display it in my studio. Grieg's popular and exciting songs promise to entertain the listener's ears, while the author's exciting rendition of Ibsen's play 'Peer Gynt' will capture young children's imagination and facilitate music theory and appreciation for the older ones. The beautiful illustrations add a wonderful touch of adventure to the story of Peer venturing farther off from home by the forest's edge and slipping through the front gate of a castle he discovers. The musical dynamics of Grieg's masterpiece, intertwined with encountering the Mountain King, will provide an enjoyable and lasting memory for the reader. I love this beautiful book and find it to be very stimulating and engaging for all. It's awesome and will make a great addition for home and school library, too.  I highly recommend it.

5/5 stars.

I am so fortunate that Allison agreed to do an interview with LadyD Books!

Author Interview

Tell us a bit about your book and where it’s available.

In the Hall of the Mountain King is a picture book that loosely follows the story line from Norwegian playwright Henrik Isben’s Peer Gynt written in the 1860's.  I modified it into a kid-friendly story of a young boy on an adventure, which ends in the mysterious Mountain King’s castle. The story’s action mirrors the music that Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg wrote for this scene of the play. I include directions in the book on how to make story and music an interactive experience for children that helps them learn about musical dynamics in a fun way. 

It is available through my website and through

What was the inspiration for your book?
I was asked to write this book by one of my Kindergarten students two years ago. Five year olds really believe anything is possible and he was no exception.  I had told this story orally to my classes, and he kept insisting to see the "book that goes with that story."  At that time, there was no book, but because of his persistence, I started the process that led to the book getting published.  It is dedicated to that student!

What was your aim for this book? What did you want readers to think and feel when reading it?  I wanted my students to appreciate and enjoy classical music—to notice its movement and variations—and, for this piece, to visualize the action mirrored by the sounds.  As a teacher it is my aim to make learning fun as well as to impart beauty, truth, and goodness in my teaching.  I hope that readers will enjoy the story and the music and be inspired by its power and beauty. I love engaging young readers with whole body movement and to try to make the music come alive for children physically as well as emotionally. Through it all, I hope they will gain appreciation for the great composers and writers that left of these classic works of art and not overlook them as "boring."  

Do you have any other books currently available?
No, this is my first book.

What will you be working on next?
I would like to write stories based on other scenes from the Peer Gynt play, based on other pieces by Edvard Grieg.  There are several interesting possibilities, so I am not sure where I will go next, but it will likely be a story that accompanies one of the other pieces on the CD included with my current book.

How did you originally get into writing?
I have always been an avid reader, staring in my elementary school years.  Books were my best friends. I think writing is just an extension of reading. I feel privileged to have gotten to write this book.

What do you enjoy most about being a writer?
I really still don't consider myself a writer.  I am more of a discoverer. I discovered this book more than I wrote it.

What do you find hardest about being a writer?
Writing a picture book is challenging because most of my words in the original manuscript ended up on the cutting room floor.  The illustrator did such an amazing job of saying what I wanted with the illustrations that my editor and I deleted much of what I had originally written. But I do miss some of those words!

Who or what would you count as your main influence? 
My mother and my paternal grandmother.  My mother read to me constantly in my early childhood.  My grandmother always sang to me and took me on long walks on the family farm where I grew up.  I think the combination of these two women created a love of the written word and the beauty of adventure in nature.  I am grateful to have had them shape my life in such profound ways.

What do you enjoy reading? 
I love reading biographies and learning about people – how they think, what drives them to be successful, why they make the choices they do, and how that influences them and the world around them. I also love children’s books. They were and still are such a big part of my own children’s lives. Some of our most precious times have been reading and entering in to stories together. There are books that I’ve read over and over to each of my children or whole series that I’ve read to each of my daughters at certain ages that very special to me—and to them to.. 

Who is your favorite author?
Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I read all of her books 13 times by the time I was in the fifth grade. Her books are one of the series I referred to above that I’ve read to each of my daughters as well. They let you experience a different world and a different time, while helping to instill values that are as relevant today as ever.

What would be your ideal writer’s haven for creating your book? Would you have a desk in a quiet cabin somewhere or an iPad on the beach?
Probably a classroom full of kindergarteners.  I would love to have a whole day with them to hear their ideas, listen to great music, and interact with their responses to it.  They are so uninhibited by the world around them and see life so purely.  They would give me great ideas and inspire me to make them happen!

  • The Peer Gynt Suite
The famous Norwegian writer and poet Henrich Ibsen asked Grieg to write music for his play Peer Gynt. This work, first performed in 1876, became so popular that it made Grieg nationally known.

Illustrator Vesper Stamper

The story is about Peer, a foolish and bold young fellow, who sets out from home in search of fame and fortune. The group of pieces (called a suite) tells the story of his adventures. Grieg wrote the pieces for orchestra and later transcribed them for piano.

children's book by author Allison Flannery

"In The Hall of the Mountain King'" Peer goes into a dark cave where the trolls live. The music expresses the excitement and danger of the adventure.

About The Author

Allison Flannery is a Kindergarten music teacher in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She is passionate about bringing music to life for children. She sings, dances, marches, and teaches eleven classes of five-to-six-year-olds at two local elementary campuses, and team teaches a music and movement class for four- to-seven-year-olds at the Colorado Springs Conservatory.

Also a long-time piano instructor, Allison loves inspiring youngsters to listen and learn from the great classical composers.

The author offers a variety of lessons plans and a free downloadable coloring page of the characters that can be mounted on craft sticks and turned into puppets to use along with the music.

Books may be ordered online at Allison's website and at Amazon, In the Hall of the Mountain King.

Thanks for the opportunity to review your book and have this wonderful interview, Allison.
Best wishes and much continued success!

Have a wonderful Christmas season everyone!

 “You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me." C. S. Lewis