I tried to get Bit to read Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin on her own this year and it was unsuccessful. She read the first couple of chapters claimed it was boring and put it back. Then I started thinking she might enjoy it more as a read aloud. She wasn't happy as she wanted to read something else.* I told her that if she didn't like it still after 75 pages we would stop. We didn't stop.
Minli lives her life in the shadow of Fruitless Mountain. Nothing grows on the mountain and the people of the village are poor. Minli watches her mother and father eke out a meager existence from the farmland. They have a house and enough to eat but nothing more. Minli's mother is discontent and grumbles about how Minli and her father find comfort in the stories he tells. Minli decides to seek the Man of the Moon to change her family's fortune and sets on a journey to where the mountain meets the moon, meeting all sorts of people and having adventures along the way. Through these experiences Minli hears many stories that weave into her own and show her the interconnectedness of life.
I like Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, but I thought it was boring at first. Once Minli met the dragon it got really interesting. Minli is my favorite character because she is brave and adventurous. I liked lots of the stories within the story. My favorite was the one about the dragon who made the pearl and then it was stolen. The pictures were very good. I will read Grace Lin's new book when it comes out.
This book makes a truly superb read aloud. I enjoyed reading it more aloud than I did reading it to myself and I enjoyed that quite a lot. The book has such a storyteller's voice that shines more brightly when that is how it is used. The illustrations are beautiful and that's about all my art deficient self can say about them. I know what I like when I see it, and it's this. The format of the story, weaving other people's stories in to Minli's, is finely executed. They all have the same basic structure and themes: beware your pride, be content with what you have. Two lessons a person can not learn enough, and they have made an indelible impression on Minli by the time she reaches her journey's end. It is truly beautiful.
I am waiting on pins and needles for Grace Lin's follow up to this, Starry River of the Sky, which will be released on October 2nd of this year.
*What Bit and I are reading next: Renegade Magic by Stephanie Burgis (my review)