Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Book Review Club - Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
by Grace Lin
middle grade

Move over brothers Grimm, there is a new fairy tale weaver in town, Grace Lin. And the tales aren't scary! No cut off thumbs. No drown children. No wolves cross-dressing as grandmothers. Instead, the reader is whisked off to the mountains of ancient - but not too ancient - China as Minli travels to the Neverending Mountain to ask the man in the moon how to change her family's fortune. She meets a dragon who cannot fly along the way. He too, wishes to change his fortune, and joins her. They meet many many more interesting characters on their trip - greedy monkeys, a green tiger, a boy with a water buffalo, a prince - to the Neverending Mountain that help Minli and Dragon or vice versa, and sometimes, both.

The tale is full of tales within tales - The Story of Fruitless Mountain, The Story of the Paper of Happinesss, The Story of the Village of Moon Rain. For those looking for a few craft points to walk away with, Lin eloquently moves from third to first person as she moves from Minli's story to these fantastical stories. Interestingly, she doesn't always switch voices. For the last story within a story, The Story of Wu Kang, for instance, Lin stays in third person. There is a paper in there somwhere...Even more importantly, though, the form is ideal for bedtime reading. These short stories within the story  create natural stopping points that make the book ideal for short reading periods. 

In this age of to buy or not to buy a book, this is a book worth purchasing in hard back. It is a work of art. There are color illustrations throughout, and four point color within the stories. It really is like a modern day, unscary fairy tale book rich with fantasy, Chinese fantasy. What a boon for American readers. Asian fantasy is, as yet, an almost untapped source of ideas and stories. There is so much to get lost in and enjoy.

I cannot wait to read this aloud to my daughters. I have a feeling it's going to be one we read over and over and over.

For more great reads, hop over to Barrie Summy's website to see all the writing world has to offer this month!


Sarah Laurence said...

It sounds like a nice gift book. Too bad my kids are already too old for MG. The illustrations are lovely and I like the idea of Chinese fairy tales without horror for young readers. Great review!

Sarah Laurence said...

I forgot to add, Ellen Booraem reviewed this same book last month for the book review club. That's 2 thumbs up.

Staci said...

I have a copy of this one on my middle school shelves...I thought it was gorgeous when I looked through it while processing it...sounds like one I need to spend some more time with!

Keri Mikulski said...

Thanks for the recommendation. Going to pick this one up for Kaci. :)

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I'm keeping my eyes open for this one--anything Chinese in this house catches our attention!

Barrie said...

I'm ordering this for Claire for her birthday. Hey, did you know Ellen reviewed this same book last month? Fun, eh? Great minds think alike!!

Stacy Nyikos said...

I don't know how I missed that Ellen reviewed it. I read through a lot of the reviews last month. Ah well. It's worth a double!