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Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

by Grace Lin

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2,4342064,266 (4.31)152
Minli, an adventurous girl from a poor village, buys a magical goldfish, and then joins a dragon who cannot fly on a quest to find the Old Man of the Moon in hopes of bringing life to Fruitless Mountain and freshness to Jade River.
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English (205)  French (1)  All languages (206)
Showing 1-5 of 205 (next | show all)
“Where the Mountain Meets the Moon” is an excellent story with a universal message.
A collection of Chinese folktales woven into an overarching story. If you have any interest in folklore this a must. What elevated this story to a true work of art is the author’s mastery of storytelling. The narrative often pauses to tell a Chinese folktale. At first this seems like only a texture for the characters and world but as the story unfolds it becomes apparent that each tale is woven into the tapestry of the plot - exposing either backstory, motivation, or what may come.

Grace Lin never explicitly states this is what she is doing, but once the folktales within folktales is revealed and everything begins to connect, the experience changes. It makes one want to reread past tales within the narrative and sift through each new one looking for the crumbs of story within.

The storytelling is further enriched by the writing. Most of the sentences are straightforward, with simple language for younger readers. However the images that are used are beautiful, and the succinct writing keeps the pace going smoothly. This easy writing style puts the focus on what is happening and being said more than how it is said.

Where this story really shines is its theme. I will not spoil it here since the slow reveal of the point of this story lends the narrative a good deal of strength. But the ultimate ending is well worth the journey and the themes are a good reminder for everyone. Though the characters are often one-note they feed into the theme well. Most of them reflect the ideals of these central themes, showing their good and their evil. From style to characters, this is a masterful lesson in how to make a meaningful story where all the different elements come together to form an emotional and impactful journey.

The only real issue with this work is also its greatest strength: its stories. All of them are engaging but there are quite a few. Though they add rather than subtract from the whole, there is enough of them that pacing can feel bogged down at times. Especially in the middle, rapid fire stories interrupt the main plot.

“Where the Mountain Meets the Moon” should be on everyone’s reading list. For parents and children, and for authors as a great example on how to tell a story, and for everyone else as a heartfelt and important reminder of life's values. ( )
  LSPopovich | Apr 8, 2020 |
This Newbery Honor book is many tales spun into one. Pulling from her Asian heritage, author Lin gifts readers a story of friendship, gratitude, and patience with an imaginative bow. Her writing style is simplistic which allows the story to flow quickly, yet this simplicity does nothing to reduce book's charm nor the world’s description through words. There are also colorful illustrations interspersed in the book. "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon" is an excellent choice for a read-aloud. The chapters are short, and children will surely beg for you to read them, “just one more.” Like many folktales, the book focuses on various virtues. Some characters discover what is truly important to them: "for all the time that she had been longing for treasures, she had already had the one most precious," while others already know. The author also includes discussion questions at the end of the book. It is no surprise why this book was a Newbery Honor ( )
  ehanne4 | Apr 3, 2020 |
Grace Lin does an excellent job of using Chinese folktale to bring adventure and fantasy to the world of the Fruitless Mountain, in the story Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. The story follows a young girl Minli who loves hearing her father’s stories, and soon her curiosity catches up to her in hopes to help her villages fate. The illustrations Grace Lin includes to accompany the journey of Minli are inspired by real places in China. These full-page illustrations that are hidden throughout the pages of the book pay homage to traditional Chinese art, while using vibrant colors to make the stories through Minli’s journey really come alive. Even though the story is told from a young girl’s perspective, the story is full of action. The supporting characters Lin creates builds a sense of need, readers want to know more about those characters, their journeys and who they are. The fantasy-filled plot that includes dragons, gold, a beastly tiger, and of course talking goldfish keep readers engaged. This story is not what most readers think of when they hear science fiction. But the stories elements of imagery, story-telling, heart-warming lessons, and out of this world mysteries make this book well worth reading. Grace Lin includes discussion questions at the end of the book which is perfect for young readers to really think deeper about what they read and help with their comprehension skills. Lin also includes a personal piece at the end about her inspiration in writing Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and shows the places where those illustrations came to live. This book is a great read for young readers and adult readers who want to escape into a fantasy of storytelling and adventure. ( )
  Bstapl1 | Apr 2, 2020 |
I liked this book for two reasons. First, I liked the character development. In the traditional literature, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, a young girl named Minli, listens to her father’s tales. From hearing one of her father’s tales, she gets the idea to go look for the Old Man of the Moon and ask if he can change her family’s fortunate. Along her journey she meets people who are also poor yet seem very content with the little they have. For example, after she meet with the Old Man of the Moon, Minli said, “…but now, finally, Minli understood all of it. Fortune was not a house full of gold and jade, but something much more.” The second reason I liked this book was because of the minor illustrations. I am not Asian, but I have some knowledge of the Asian culture. The illustrations were vibrant with soft beautiful colors of red, gold, pink, and purple. There aren’t so many illustrations, but the few are very detailed with so much texture of the Asian culture. The message of this story is what we should be content with what we have. It might just be our destiny. ( )
  ileonr1 | Mar 24, 2020 |
Newbery honor book . ( )
  ME_Dictionary | Mar 20, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 205 (next | show all)
CCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices 2010)
Life is hard in Minli’s Village of Fruitless Mountain, where she lives with Ba and Ma, her father and mother. Despite their hardships, Minli finds joy in the magical stories Ba tells at dinner each evening. When Minli spends her family’s last two coins to buy a goldfish, the fantasy of her father’s stories merges with the bleak reality of their daily life. Unable to feed the fish, Minli releases it in the river, and in payment the fish tells her how to get to Never-Ending Mountain. There, Minli knows, she can ask a question of the Old Man of the Moon. Determined to find out how to change the fortune of her town, she sets off. Grace Lin deftly inserts a series of tales inspired by traditional Chinese folktales into the larger tapestry of Minli’s extraordinary journey that is full of adventure and trials. Gorgeous book design augments this fast-paced fantasy, including occasional full-page color illustrations, chapter heading decorations, and a typeface treatment that visually distinguishes the folktale segments from the overarching story of Minli’s quest. CCBC Category: Fiction for Children. 2009, Little, Brown, 278 pages, $16.99. Ages 8-11.
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Dedication
Special thanks to:
Alvina, Connie, Libby, Janet, Mom, Dad, and Alex
First words
Far away from here, following the Jade River, there was once a black mountain that cut into the sky like a jagged piece of rough metal.
Quotations
"Ahh, good," the fish said. "If you make happy those that are near, those that are far will come."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Minli, an adventurous girl from a poor village, buys a magical goldfish, and then joins a dragon who cannot fly on a quest to find the Old Man of the Moon in hopes of bringing life to Fruitless Mountain and freshness to Jade River.
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