I can’t believe I haven’t written about this book already! I found it several years ago, and it’s been a favorite to give as a gift to my nieces.
Author: Grace Lin
Age group: middle grade
Summary: Minli lives in a small village in the shadow of “Fruitless Mountain” (so called for the little bit of “fruit” it bears). Like the rest of the villagers, she and her parents live in a poor hut and scrape together a simple existence. To pass the time, her father tells her many fantastical stories involving the Jade Dragon and the Old Man on the Moon, who is supposed to know the answers to all life’s questions. Minli decides to set off on an adventure to find the Old Man on the Moon in order to ask him how she can change her family’s fortune. Along the way, she meets an incredible cast of characters.
I love stories where the pieces all “fit” together in the end in a way that is totally unexpected. (Hmm, perhaps this is why I love mysteries so much.) One of the things I love about Grace Lin’s novel is that the stories Minli’s father tells (which are these wonderful Chinese folklore stories in and of themselves) fit perfectly into what happens during Minli’s adventure.
Also, the book is simply gorgeous. In addition to being a talented author, Grace Lin is also a wonderful illustrator. Her beautiful full-color drawings accompany her tale. (I am extremely jealous. )
I highly recommend this one!