Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a 2010 Newbery Honor Book, meaning it was nominated for the award but lost to When You Reach Me. It fills the Snubbed slot on my bingo card for that reason. And guys, I um… I think it’s a better book then When You Reach Me. I read and reviewed When You Reach Me earlier this year, and while I thought it was fine I didn’t love it. And it might be because this book hits me where I love, but I really enjoyed this book. Its a retelling of various Chinese myths, and I am a sucker for retold stories.
Minli lives with her parents in a poor village at the base of Fruitless Mountain. Her father tells her stories, for example of the Old Man on the Moon who controls the fates of all mankind, to make the days more bearable and young Minli takes them all in. Her mother sighs at their poverty and Minli takes that in too. One day a goldfish seller goes through the town and Minli, inspired by the bright, flashy fish, buys one with one of her two coins. The fish, who talks, tells Minli that if she frees him the fish will tell her how to find the Old Man on the Moon and change the fate of her village. So Minli sets off on an adventure where she meets a flightless dragon and changes the fates of many.
It’s a really sweet little story, full of many tales that are interwoven to form a greater whole. While the over arching plot is Minli’s, there are several subplots that start in the stories told by various characters and eventually resolved through Minli’s actions. It’s lovely to see all the threads weft neatly through the seemingly unconnected strands of other stories and make up the full cloth of the book.
Recommended to lovers of middle grade fiction.