Second place isn't always second best

A review of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

Now we know which book won Newbery Gold for 2010, and a very deserving title it is.  Still, in past years some of my favorite books have been the Newbery Honor books.  This year is no exception for me.  Grace Lin's realistic/fantasy/folktale, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is an incredibly strong work of writing. A young Chinese girl, Minli, from a very poor family meets a talking goldfish who helps her begin a journey to find The Old Man of the Moon.  The Old Man keeps the book of fortune, and can tell her how to change her family's fortune.  There are so many stories and characters tightly interwoven in this book, and Lin pulls all of the threads together seamlessly.  Should you decide to take this fabulous journey along with Lin's heroine, Minli, you will meet an earthbound dragon, a cruel and greedy magistrate, some talking goldfish, some very selfish and greedy monkeys, a village which holds the key to perfect happiness, and many other wonderful, worthy friends. I highly recommend this children's book, but I'm not sure how it might function as a read-aloud for those parents looking for bedtime sharing material for their  7 - 11 year-olds.  The story is not as straightforward as most books that I think of for reading aloud.  But, give it a try and let me know how it goes.  Either way, this book has the feel of classic children's literature to me.  I also felt that the illustrations, few though they are, definitely add to the story and to the high quality of the book as a whole.

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