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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 Jacket Flap


10 thoughts on “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

  1. says:

    When an author wants to write their first fantasy novel for children, they ll sometimes fall back on the books they themselves loved as kids If they were Alice in Wonderland fans they might go the route of Neil Gaiman s Coraline If they were partial to The Wizard of Oz they could do as Salman Rushdie did when he wrote Haroun and the Sea of Stories As Grace Lin explains in her Author s Note to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, some of the books she read at eleven were dozens upon dozens of Chinese folktale and fairytale stories With her customary cleverness Lin has now taken the essence of those tales and woven them into a quest novel that is a mix of contemporary smart girl pizzazz and the feel of a classic that your parents were read as children If there s any author out there today with the potential of being remembered and beloved 100 years down the line, Grace Lin has my vote.Poor in the valley of Fruitless Mountain, young Minli and her family earn their daily rice by working and scraping in the fields near their home Her sole joy comes at night when her father tells her wonderful stories of far away places One day Minli buys a goldfish to improve her fortunes, but when her mother sees her foolish purchase, Minli frees the fish and sets it in the river Little does she suspect that this single act will give her the impetus to seek her family s fortune by leaving to find the Old Man of the Moon Along the way Minli makes friends and outwits foes in her attempt to help not just herself but those she loves and cares about.The aforementioned Haroun and the Sea of Stories was the book I kept thinking about when I was reading, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon As in Lin s novel, Rushdie attempts to reawaken that feeling you get when you read a quest novel where disparate characters band together and become friends along the way The thing is, Lin has been cleverer than Rushdie here While his novel was essentially an Oz redux, Lin s world combines old stories and classic myths to come up with something that seems entirely new The feel of this book has similarities to Oz, in that you feel you are in a safe space when you read this tale Small children will not be frightened when this is read to them while older kids will relate to Minli and understand what makes her want to run away.In Lin s previous and younger novels for kids The Year of the Dog, The Year of the Rat she breaks up the text regularly with stories that are pertinent to the action, as well as wonderful little vignettes While doing so, she impresses you with her writing Phrases stick in a person s brain, like The forest was full of shapes and shadows and only barely could he see the faint footprints on the ground it was like searching for a wrinkle in a flower petal Lin also conjures up visuals In one village, each villager cuts a bit of cloth from their own clothes to provide Minli with a warm coat When she leaves, she waves goodbye As she watched the sea of ruined sleeves flutter at her, she realized it was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen And she has so perfectly incorporated real legends and fables too Generally Lin s interpretations of the tales sound like her own inventions Only once in a while do you get a glimpse of the old tale behind her words When the Old Man of the Moon changes a man s fate by turning the number 19 into 91 with a simple flick of a brush, one can assume he s not doing it to numbers as we see them, but as a reader you simply do not care.One of the other remarkable things about the book is that the story isn t just Minli s journey we re watching but the emotional journey of her mother From scraping harpy into loving appreciative person, we see this change come about thanks to her grief How many quest tales can you think about where you cut between the protagonist and their healthy relatives at home Even if it happens, the relatives are usually in some kind of dire straits Not here The biggest problems dealt with in these passages is the loneliness of the parents And for some kids, this will be a relief To know that the parents are still safe and sound To see how much they care for their absent daughter, even while she s off having adventures There s a kind of tacit understanding at work here No matter how far you go, your parents will still be back at your home waiting for you No matter what.Lin has always been an artist, so it s little surprise that she has illustrated this book What is new is that the pictures aren t the usual pen and ink spot illustrations Little Brown shelled out some cold hard cash to make sure that each picture in this book is lush and lovely While still recognizably her style, the art in this book is not as young as her work on, say, Lissy s Friends or Where on Earth is My Bagel There s a sophistication here that we ve never seen before For example, the initial view of Fruitless Mountain keeps a finger on what is kid friendly, but also hints at the history of Chinese art and design at the same time And in the text there are spot illustrations true, but even these are colorful My sole regret is how small the book is Someday it would be nice to see this title in a full lap sized edition for easier reading The better to appreciate the pictures, I think.Sometimes it s just nice to read something to your kids that s beautiful Holding Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is like holding a small treasure A little piece of art A graceful departure from the younger books she has done before, Lin mixes great writing with even greater kid appeal and comes up with a story that everyone can enjoy Boys and girls, kids and parents, everyone will like what they find here How many books can you say that of off the top of your head Ages 7 12.


  2. says:

    My five stars might be misleading I don t think I would have enjoyed this half as much reading it to myself as I did reading it aloud slowly over many nights with an utterly enchanted seven year old hanging on every word It s a magical quest story woven of Chinese folk tales and the author s own imagination, with bits of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz thrown in as well There are a few passages that are near quotations, apparently an homage to Baum s classic which I m guessing was a favorite of Lin s as a child The illustrations, also by Lin, are exquisite.


  3. says:

    2010 I am completely floored by this book It is perfect on so many levels at the beginning I was reading it with my three year old son in mind he has a crush on the picture of Grace Lin on the back flap , and the text seemed simple enough for him to understand and enjoy the book But by the end, I was reading for me, having forgotten all about my son, and I was thinking that every mother should read this book When I buy it this was a library copy , my son will have to fight me for it.I loved the way that folktales came to life in this book, and the stories throughout especially the way they connected and the pictures The only thing I didn t like was the font that the little stories were in Oh, and the fact that this book didn t win the Newbery Medal Seriously, I m kind of mad about that not that it s up to me, a lowly nobody in the middle of nowhere, but this book was so beautifully done in word, story, and message that When You Reach Me which I also enjoyed, but in a different way seems a bit frivolous beside it now.


  4. says:

    Me ha encantado Al principio me recordaba mucho a El mago de Oz o Alicia en el pa s de las maravillas pero r pidamente va cogiendo su propio y nico estilo Est escrito a modo de f bula o cuento tradicional, con un mensaje final precioso y repleto de leyendas chinas reales e inventadas Una delicia de historia acompa ada de las preciosas ilustraciones que tambi n realiz la autora


  5. says:

    I loved this book I love learning about myths from the Asian culture I love how the blurb related this to the Wizard of Oz, and I can see that relationship MeiLi is on a quest, a journey Like Dorothy, she realizes she doesn t need anything from an outside source She has the power within This is such a lovely tone The culture is celebrated and the importance of family is here and I love how nature plays into the story so intricately I enjoy the people she meets along the way and the story with the monkeys made me laugh That was a great resolve the book did They characters were unique and distinct I thought this was well executed.I will be reading books by Grace Lin This was fantastic for anyone who loves Mythology.


  6. says:

    This book was beautifully written I found it as much a delight to read as my little one did to have it read to her.Minli is a young girl that lives in a poor village in rural China Under the gloomy shadow of a barren mountain, she and her family toil and drudge to just barely scrape by She watches as her mother grows and discontent with their lot in life, until finally Minli decides to ask the Old Man of the Moon how their fortune can be improved.What follows is a touching, intelligent adventure I was skeptical of the Wizard of Oz comparison, but it is apt This book is an instant classic, and I am so glad I got to share it with my daughter.Filled with fleshed out characters and numerous story within a story interludes, this book walks that fine knife s edge teaching moral lessons while never seeming preachy or ham fisted about it.If you want to bring some joy into your and or your child s life, come join Minli in her quest to Never Ending Mountain You may just come back seeing the world with new eyes.


  7. says:

    Read via Overdrive app from the Try something different section Narrator Janet Song 3.5 stars, pleasant voice and good job narrating the story but her voices for different characters sometimes didn t sound all that different A beautiful and heartwarming with a couple teary moments tale Simply but elegantly written, the characters feel like old friends fairly quickly and worm their way into your heart.I don t know what else to say except I enjoyed this one very much It is written for a younger audience but can be enjoyed by adults as well.Would recommend


  8. says:

    I highly recommend this one Delightful story and great morals, so a nice one to grab for your next family read aloud Watch my video where I explain why this one is a good choice geography asia china cultureAges 7 12Cleanliness Children s Bad WordsName Calling 5 Incidents dogs, fool, puffed up frogs, stupidReligious Profanities 1 Incident thank goodnessReligious SupernaturalSee Conversation Topics.Romance Related 3 Incidents A boy comes across a girl bathing in the water He puts her clothes next to the shore that his pet had moved and turned around so she could dress A boy says that when he s old enough, he wants to talk his friend a girl into staying forever with him He reached inside the breast of his shirt For a full cleanliness report, which includes Conversation Topics and Parent Takeaway, visit my website I have hundreds of other detailed reports too, and I also have Clean Guides downloadable PDFs which enable you to clean up your book before reading it Visit my website The Book Radar.


  9. says:

    I wanted to like this, truly Mythology is something I find immensely fascinating and I m curious to learn about Asian culture and stories and customs Unfortunately, the book was not for me I found it predictable and was annoyed by the frequently used exclamation marks I do think young children would like this but I m far too salty and mean at this point