Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
Published By: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Book Category: Fiction, Juvenile Fiction
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Reviewed by Erin Clyburn
Very rarely do I finish a contemporary children’s book and feel fully satisfied, feeing I’ve just finished something that a lot of thought went into, with an original story and characters that stand strong.
Grace Lin’s Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is, simply, a breath of fresh air. While not wholly original, having strong traces of Baum’s The Wizard of Oz and Ende’s The Never-Ending Story, at its heart the book is the archetypal hero quest—the child who leaves home on a journey, and meets a cast of colorful characters, learns stories, encounters difficulties, and fulfills his destiny.
In Lin’s story, set in China, the headstrong Minli is the hero, or in this case heroine. She embarks on a quest to find The Old Man of the Moon, who weaves together the destinies of all people with interwoven, seemingly tangled red threads, and hopes he will share the secret that will change her family’s fortune.
The story is fantastical and relies heavily on Chinese myth and folklore. This weaving together of the hero quest and Chinese folklore is where Lin’s book truly soars. According to Lin, she took pieces of Chinese folklore and rewrote them with her own westernized flair to form her own mythology, and the result is beautiful.
Lin’s storytelling is effortless. Her language is accessible for young children, but her prose is enjoyable for adults. The language is simple but effective. “Under his gaze, Ma and Ba suddenly felt like freshly peeled oranges,” is an image I won’t soon forget, nor is “…the sky deepened like brewing tea.”
It’s a rare experience reading a new book and feeling that it has the makings of a classic, when you know that somewhere down the line you’ll pick the book up and read it again… and again. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is that reading experience.
Like the Old Man of the Moon’s threads, Lin’s story is a collection of bits and pieces of myth, folklore, and her own storytelling that may seem tangled at first, but unravel into the most pleasingly intertwined collection of stories that create an incredibly strong whole.
Armchair Interviews says: A 5-star read that should be a must-read.
Author’s Web site: http://www.GraceLin.com