Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
Author: Grace Lin
Publisher: Little Brown
Published: June 1, 2009
Paperback: 279 pages
Grace Lin, author of the beloved Year of the Dog and Year of the Rat, returns with a wondrous story of happiness, family, and friendship. A fantasy crossed with Chinese folklore, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a timeless adventure story in the classic tradition of The Wizard of Oz.
In the Valley of Fruitless Mountain, a young girl named Minli spends her days working hard in the fields and her nights listening to her father spin fantastic tales about the Jade Dragon and the Old Man of the Moon. Minli’s mother, tired of their poor life, chides him for filling her head with nonsense. But Minli believes these enchanting stories and embarks on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man of the Moon and ask him how her family can change their fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest
“Far away from here, following the Jade River, there was once a black mountain that cut into the sky like a jagged piece of rough metal. The villagers called it the Fruitless Mountain because nothing grew on it and birds and animals did not rest there.” page 1
Minli lives in this poor, broken down village with her Ma and Ba. Although, her mother is extremely negative about the life she’s been given, Minli tries to see the positive. Her favorite thing to do is to listen to Ba tells stories. For every question Minli has about a subject, there is a story. Every story has a lesson, and every lesson is learned by the character that needs to hear it, so stories are told throughout the book. The stories Minli enjoys the most are “The Story of the Fruitless Mountain”, and “The Story of the Old Man of the Moon”. (There is a lot more to explain about the stories told, but I don’t want to give everything away.)
Minli is a very sweet and curious girl. She was given two pieces of copper when she was a baby, they sit in a blue rice bowl, and they haven’t been spent. One day a goldfish peddler comes to the village, Minli has been trying to think of ways to change her families fortune. She runs in her hut, takes a copper coin and buys a goldfish with the intention of starting that change. Of course, her Ma is upset, there is barely enough rice to feed the three of them, much less a silly goldfish. Minli feels guilty, so she decides to let the fish go. Then suddenly the goldfish starts talking to her. And with that, her adventure begins.
I loved this book. The illustrations are beautiful. It was almost to pretty to open and enjoy. The story was so sweet. I loved Minli’s adventure and also was entertained by what happens to all the characters, even the ones that are subjects in stories. Most of all, I loved Ma’s change of heart.
5 stars out of 5. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a Newbery Honor Book. Grace Lin has written many books, which I’m sure I will be enjoying too. Read more about the author here.
Thanks to Heather for giving me the opportunity to read and review this amazing book. –Guest Review by Mindy Holt of LDSWBR.