Title: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
Author: Grace Lin
Length: 278 pages
Genre: Fantasy / Folk Tale
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Content appropriate for: Grades 3-5
Three adjectives that describe this book: easy to read, entertaining, mystical
In Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, Grace Lin weaves together traditional Chinese folktales with her own twists and additions to create a beautiful story that captures the beauty of this ancient genre. In the wonderful Author's Note at the end of the book, Lin explains where some of her inspiration came from, noting that it's sometimes difficult to parse out exactly which pieces in the book are traditional Chinese tales, which are her own invention, and which elements are a mix of the two.
Although this book is nearly 300 pages long, it reads incredibly quickly. I finished it in about a day. I think this speed is a mix of both short-ish chapters, and a well-crafted story. The writing is complete, with detail to develop world and character, but nothing extraneous.
The novel is littered with separate tales, interrupting the flow of the story. I found this odd, until they all started to fit together. In the end, these tales turned out to be one of my favorite elements. Reading this book was kind of like examining a quilt, where all the parts fit perfectly.
And Grace Lin's illustrations!? Oh man - this whole book is beautiful! If you can, get the print edition because the colors and layout are SO worth it!
Overall, I absolutely adored this book. From the traditional Chinese feel, so carefully crafted by a talented, modern author, to the outstanding character development and pacing, to the beautiful presentation of the story. I can see why this book won a Newberry Honor and continues to be placed on all kinds of reading and honors lists. Outstanding!