Young Minli lives with her parents nestled in a village at the base of Fruitless Mountain. Everyday her father tells her wonderous tales, and her mother sighs about how little rice is left. One day, a talkative goldfish sets Minli on an amazing journey to meet the Old Man of the Moon and change her family’s fortune! It is fascinating when a character in a book tells stories. The reader meets new characters in the story within a story and the novel’s world is given more depth. This story was full of twists and turns. I hoped for Minli’s success on her quest, while my heart broke for her parents worrying and waiting for their child’s safe return.
One of my favorite scenes is when an entire community contributes fabric from their clothes to make a coat for Minli. The patchwork cloak keeps her warm and her heart fills as she “waved a grateful goodbye to the village” and “a sea of ruined sleeves fluttered back at her” (208). The main theme of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is gratitude. Minli meets several characters who selflessly help her and expect no payment or favor in return.
I would recommend this book to fans of fantasy and epic adventures! This tale combines Chinese folklore with Grace Lin’s creativity to make an exciting and heartwarming story. There is a brave girl who sets out on a quest, characters sharing stories over cups of tea, a lovable dragon, a fierce tiger, and threads of destiny pulling them inexorably forward into the unknown.
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a gripping story with vibrant illustrations. It is perfect for middle grade readers who want to dive into a new world. Readers can continue the journey by picking up the companion book, Starry River of the Sky, and its sequel, When the Sea Turns Silver.
You can find Where the Mountain Meets the Moon on Libby / Overdrive.