I Can Climb That


This is a short story I've written for a picture book.

It's a few drafts in, and I would very much appreciate feedback from anyone willing to give it a read through.
Either as an adult, or with a child.

If you have feedback, please contact me:



I hope you enjoy it.

Many thanks, Tom.


A mountain landscape with a seemingly giant girl, resting her foot on the side of the mountain. She has a speech bubble which says 'I can climb that!', which serves as the story's title.


Ivy is a little girl with long black hair. She flings her arms out and cheers with excitement.

Ivy was the most energetic little girl in the whole wide world!
Ivy rides on her dad's shoulders, whilst her mum counts down to take a photo. Mum's speech bubble says 'one, two, three!' in Chinese characters.

One day, she was on holiday with her Mum and Dad, visiting the forest in the high mountains.
Mum and Dad warned Ivy that she might get tired.
It would be a tough climb to the top of a mountain, even with all her energy.
Ivy and her parents look up at a mountain landscape. Ivy points to the tallest mountain. A signpost points to the right, and reads 'Mountain forest railway' in English and Chinese.

"I can climb that!" announced Ivy, when she saw the mountain.
Even so, they decided it would be better to take the train together.
A train moves into the distance through a forest. Ivy is peeking out of one of the carriage windows.

Creaking and rattling as it went, the train creeped slowly upwards.
Half-way to the top, it screeched to a halt. It was the end of the track.
The forest stretched on ahead, up a very steep slope.
Ivy and her parents stand on a railway platform. Signs read 'Forest station' in English and Chinese. Ivy points into the forest. Mum reasons with Ivy, whilst dad points to some steps, leading upwards into the forest.

"I can climb that!" blurted Ivy, pointing up the slope.
Even so, they decided to follow the proper path together, and take the steps instead.
Steps weave through the forest. Ivy skips up them with glee. Her speech bubble shows the Chinese characters from one to ten. Mum and Dad appear as tiny figures, still at the bottom of the steps.

Ivy bounded up the steps, counting them as she went.
"Yī, èr, sān, sì, wǔ, lìu, qī, bā, jǐu, shí...".
Ivy stoops, with hands on knees, to reach the level of a toad and talk to it.

Beside the steps, she saw a toad crawling up a bank.
"I can climb that." Ivy declared to the toad.
The toad just plodded on, disappearing into the forest.
In the forest, the path splits, leading to an ornately tiled temple gate. Beside the gate a sign reads 'Entrance' in Chinese. Ivy holds her dad's hand, whilst mum points towards the gate, suggesting they should go in.

At the top of the steps, there stood a beautiful temple gate.
Mum and Dad wanted to take a break, so they all decided it would be fun to go inside.
Two ornate dragons face off on the tiled temple roof. Between them sits a flaming pearl. A magpie perches on the tail of the left-hand dragon.

On top of the temple was a magnificent carving.
Two fierce dragons, scrambling over the roof tiles, reaching out towards a firey pearl.
Ivy looked up at the roof.
In front of the temple, Ivy shouts and points at the roof. Her parents shush her, fingers on lips. The magpie looks on from a new perch on the roof tiles. Inside the temple, tapestries hang from the walls, and incense sticks burn in a large urn.

"I CAN..."
"Ssshhhhhh!"
"...climb that." she whispered
Even so, Mum and Dad quietly insisted, that would be disrespectful.
The tiny figures of Ivy and her parents are dwarfed by an enormous tree in the forest.

Higher up the mountain, they came to a grove of very tall, very old trees.
Right in the middle was a giant tree, much taller, and far older than all the rest.
At the foot of a giant tree, Ivy and her dad pose for a photo. Mum holds up the camera and counts down in Chinese. Dad makes a peace sign with his fingers, but Ivy is distracted. In the background, a squirrel rests on the tree trunk.

"I can climb that!" bellowed Ivy, pointing to the forest canopy.
Even so, Mum and Dad wanted Ivy to be in a photograph instead.
A squirrel perches, head down on a tree trunk, at Ivy's eye level. Ivy points to the squirrel and talks to it.

A little black squirrel scurried down the tree trunk, and looked right at Ivy.
"I can climb that." Ivy bragged, pointing up the tree.
The squirrel just scampered back the way it came.
Ivy and her parents hold hands by a railing. They are dwarfed by the mountain landscape.

Eventually, they reached the end of the path.
Looking out, they could see all the other mountain tops, shrouded in a sea of fluffy white clouds.
Ivy pointed to the biggest peak.
Ivy is overly excited. Dad calms her, and looks to his watch. Mum Heads in the direction of a signpost. The sign reads 'Exit' in Chinese.

"I CAN CLIMB THAT!" she boomed. Loud enough for the whole world to hear, jumping up and down.
Even so, they had climbed enough mountains for one day, and all agreed it was time to go back.
A montage of previous images. The giant tree. The temple roof. The steps. The train.

Through the ancient forest, and past the magnificent temple.
Down the countless steps, and on the creaky train.
Against a mountain backdrop, Ivy and her parents sit down to a meal. Dad is eating with chopsticks from a bowl. He has a bottle of milk-tea. Mum has a bag of fried chicken and a cup of coffee. Ivy has a steamed bun and a bubble tea. Ivy points back to the mountain proudly.

At the bottom once again, they stopped to rest and enjoy a well earned meal.
Ivy looked back up the mountain, and proudly declared, "I CLIMBED THAT!".
Ivy and Mum sit at the dining table. Dad looks on with a cup of tea, eating a cookie. They are all dressed ready for bed, with pyjamas and dressing gowns. On the table is a teapot and a plate of cookies. Mum warms her hands on a cup of tea. Ivy is drawing a train with crayons. On the wall behind them a clock reads eight o'clock.

Back home, later that night, it was time to go to sleep.
The only thing left, was for Ivy to scale the staircase, and clamber into bed.
Mum and dad are stood at the foot of the stairs in their dressing gowns.

"Can you climb that?" joked Mum and Dad, pointing the way up the stairs to bed.
Ivy is asleep at the table, head resting on her crossed arms. Ivy's drawings litter the table. A toad, a tree, and a mountain with three climbing stick figures.

But Ivy didn't answer.
After a long day, she was now the tiredest little girl in the whole wide world!
Ivy had fallen fast asleep.
THE END.