brings Asian storytelling to life. Minli is a girl who lives with her poor parents in the Village of the Fruitless Mountain. Her parents both work hard, and Minli works beside them in the fields. Her father, Ba, tells timeless stories. Maybe some are true; maybe they are just works of fiction. Her mother, Ma, is discontented with life and is rather miserable. Minli learns from a talking goldfish how to find the Old Man of the Moon, the one who has all the answers in her father's stories.
Along the way, Minli befriends many, especially a dragon who cannot fly. He helps her find her way to the Old Man of the Moon. In the end, she has a very difficult decision to make when she has to choose between a friend and herself.
What I liked:
This is a delightfully told book. Grace Lin weaves the story of Minli together beautifully to remind all of us that contentment never comes in the form of money or possessions, but in thankfulness. I really enjoyed the Asian setting, and especially the stories that Ba, and others, tell throughout the main story. It is a well-written book with depth and meaning. There are also occasional illustrations that add to the story itself.
What I didn't like:
Well, being that the setting is in Asia, it should be no surprise that a feeling of gods (and a goddess) permeate the book. Initially it was rather subtle, but as the reader gets to know the Old Man of the Moon, and all that Minli must do to ask him a question, it becomes more obvious. It is a fabulous reminder that my God is always present, always listening, and always reachable, unlike the Old Man of the Moon.
Overall, the story of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is well-written, and really, a great story. That is why it won a Newberry Honor. Grace Lin explains in "Behind the Story" that some of the characters are based on myths, including the Old Man of the Moon is based on Yue-lao, the Chinese God of Marriage. With that said, it does seem to be written as a fantasy...you know, talking creatures, dragons, and magical things happening. As a Christian, I wouldn't be opposed to my children (many years from now) reading book geared for ages 9-12, because it is a good story and certainly would be a great springboard for discussions of many sorts, including comparing gods to God.
Thank you, Little, Brown, for providing this book for review purposes.