Illustrator and Author Judith Mitchell Unveils Mystical World of 'BOVILLE'

Alma is a young girl who lives in a gloomy town called BOVILLE, a dreary place where it rains and rains. It never stops raining. Everyone is surly, and they curse at the towering rocky mountain which surrounds Boville, forever keeping the clouds in and the sun out. The villagers call the mountain “The Hateful Sleeper,” a name whose origin is lost in their history. Alma and Oyster spend hours peering at the Sleeper through her rainstreaked window. Most of the time, The Hateful Sleeper is invisible, shrouded in mist, but occasionally when the mist clears Alma glimpses something odd about it. She imagines that the rocky summit shifts its shape slightly – or is that just the fog blowing over it, playing tricks on her imagination? Alma and Oyster often visit a mysterious crone named Zephira, who lives apart from the town in a little cottage pressed against the bottom of The Hateful Sleeper. Zephira entertains Alma with many familiar stories, and Alma tells Zephira all her latest observations of the Hateful Sleeper. One dayZephira surprises Alma with a new tale – this one of the long-forgotten times in Boville when the sun warmed the town and shone on beautiful trees, many flowers, and happy people. “Things were not always as you see them now…” Zephira murmurs. Alma asks Zephira why Boville was so different once; why it always rains in Boville now, and what can be done about this? Zephira's baffling response is to suggest that Alma ask the Hateful Sleeper these questions, herself. Alma rises to the challenge, and early one morning while Boville still sleeps under a heavy blanket of fog, she and Oyster slip out and begin a very perilous climb up the steep mountain. When they reach a flat promontory just under the mountaintop, Alma can clearly see that her suspicions were true. She furiously shouts her question up at this obstacle to the very sun.