Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a fantastic middle grade adventure story with serious all-ages appeal.
Minli is the young daughter of poor rice farmers living in the shadow of Fruitless Mountain. What they lack in material wealth, Minli's father makes up for by keeping the house rich in stories. While Minli loves the fanciful tales her father tells her, all her mother ever does is sigh.
When Minli realizes that her mother sighs because of the things they do not have she sets out on a journey to find The Man on the Moon with the hopes of asking him how to improve her families fortune.
This fast paced novel reads like a parable fairy tale. The plot of Minli's adventure is broken up by stories within the story.
Grace Lin expertly weaves together the stories that the characters tell with the plot of Minli's journey, allowing the reader little aha moments when something they thought was mere fantasy turns out to be true.
Minli is creative and courageous on her journey, which made it very fun to read. She does not get downtrodden by misfortune, or hung up with confusion. Little inquiries do make her stop and wonder, but she always keeps going. The journey teaches her as much about herself as it does about the world. At the end she is no longer the girl who initially set out.
Uniquely, this story also includes what Minli's parents undergo during her absence, including the worry and loss that they feel. And how they choose to accept the blame for inspiring Minli to leave.
The writing is simple enough for the target market to enjoy reading, but I also found it to be elegant and powerful from an adult perspective. Each word on the page feels carefully chosen and results in environments that come across as lush and magical, and characters that are curious and well fleshed out.
This is one of those stories that really manages to sweep you away into the world and its fast pace adventure keeps you going until the end. I recommend reading it all in one sitting--or you know, while doing laundry. Like I did.
Genre: Fairytale, Chinese Folklore, Adventure
Length: 278 pages
Plans to Continue? Yes! I will read Starry River of the Sky next!
What This Story has to Offer You
A Handful of Beautifully Illustrated Pages
The Book of Fate
An Entire Village of Kindness
An Evil Tiger
A Boy and his Pet Buffalo
Have you read this book? What were your thoughts on it? Do you have another Chinese Folklore recommendation? I would love to hear it!
Thanks for reading!
Photo taken by me