This is a beautiful and magical book. I haven’t read an elementary fiction novel that has captivated me like this one did in a long time. I knew exactly which student I would ask to read it, one of my favorite third grade readers, now a fourth grader. She loved the book as I suspected she would. I wasn’t writing my blog when I first read this book, otherwise it would have been one of my first posts. I loved “having” to reread this book in order to write this recommendation.
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is the story of a girl named Minli who lives in the shadow of Fruitless Mountain. Her village, the mountain and everything around are grey and poor. Minli and her parents work all day to plant rice and grow barely enough to feed themselves. Minli’s mother constantly frowns and complains about how hard their life is. The only brightness in their existence comes from Minli’s father’s stories. Ba tells stories of the Fruitless Mountain, The Story of the Old Man of the Moon and others.
One day, Minli buys a goldfish from a peddler who tells her that it will bring her family good fortune. She spends all her money on the goldfish. When her mother gets angry that Minli has spent all her money on a goldfish that will have to eat some of the little rice they have, Minli realizes that she must let the goldfish go. So begins her adventure to find the Never-Ending Mountain and the Man of the Moon to bring her family good fortune.
I loved the way this book wove Minli’s story with the stories that formed the legend of The Man of the Moon. I also loved Minli’s quick mind and determination. This is a great book for elementary school readers. I think this book would make a fantastic read aloud for third or fourth grade classrooms as well. Highly recommended.
This book was a Newbery honor book and a Junior Library Guild selection. I’m looking forward to reading Grace Lin’s next book, Starry River of the Sky, published in 2012.