Thursday, June 4, 2009

Book Review: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin. (Grades 4-7.)

Young child Minli lives in a village at the foot of Fruitless Mountain. Everything there is brown.

Nothing grows on the mountain and the people are forced to toil long and hard in the mud to raise barely enough rice to live on. Although Minli is content hearing fantastic stories from her loving father, Minli's mother is not happy. So Minli sets out to find the Old Man of the Moon on the Never-Ending Mountain and ask him how to change their fortune.

As soon as they find out she's gone, Minli's parents become crazy with worry, but it's too late - Minli is gone. And as her parents try to pass the time until Minli comes home (oh, how they hope she will make it home), Minli is off having adventures and learning new stories from everyone she meets.

This is a magical book about the power of hoping for impossible things and the importance of story. Since the whole novel reads like a fable, it's fitting that some of the stories within the book are based on Chinese folktales the author read when she was a child.

This was really a feel-good book for me. The ending was just perfect! Short chapters make the text fly by and it has a good amount of adventure. You'll find dragons, evil tigers, kings, trickery, and plenty of magic within the pages of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. This will be a big hit with any kid who enjoys fairy tales, folktales, and mythology.

I loved Grace Lin's Year of the Dog and Year of the Rat, but this book is completely different. It's a powerful story that will stay with me for a long, long time.

I'm reviewing from an ARC, so I don't have the full-color illustrations, but you can get a preview of this beautiful artwork here:

Check out another blog review at BookDragon.

Due out July 1.


Stephanie said...

This looks good! I'll make a note of it. One of the reasons my son and I enjoyed the "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series so much is that we had read about many Greek myths and he knew the story of The Odyssey.

Can you recommend a good book on Chinese folktales to compliment the one you just reviewed? It might be fun to read that first, then see if he remembers any characters and stories that pop up in Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. Hope my question makes sense. Thanks!


Abby said...


Actually, in the author's note Grace Lin included a list of Chinese folktale books that inspired the novel. Here are a few of them:

Birch, Cyril. Tales from China (Oxford Myths and Legends). New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Fang, Linda. The Ch'i-lin Purse, A Collection of Ancient Chinese Stories. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1995.

Wang, Gia-Zhen. Auntie Tigress and Other Favorite Chinese Folktales. New York: Purple Bear Books, 2006.

Those are just a few of the ones that she lists.

Stephanie said...

Thank you! I will look for this book. :-)