Sunday, January 17, 2010

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Young Minli lives a life of drudgery with her parents in a poor village that sits in the shadow of barren Fruitless Mountain.  The only beacons of hope in Minli's life are the stories told by her beloved father Ba.  It is these stories and a mysterious goldfish that lead her on a quest to find the Old Man of the Moon and bring good fortune to her family and village. Along the way, Minli meets a dragon and many other characters that help her on a quest to find Never Ending Mountain.

To state the obvious, Grace Lin has written a wonderful book with Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.  This will be a terrific read aloud where the class will groan when you have to stop reading for the day. Students will embrace Minli and her quest for good fortune.  It's the classic hook, and Lin had me with the line and sinker as well. I've read reviews that compare it to The Wizard of Oz, and I can see this. The book I kept referencing as I was reading was When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. It's probably crazy, but I think Minli and Miranda have a lot of similarities in their quests.  I also see why both of these books are leading Newbery contenders.  One thing that sets these books apart from others is how both authors end their books with questions answered in brilliant fashion.  I really admire the cleverness of Lin and Stead.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon would be an excellent choice for teaching the structure of fictional text (rising action, climax, etc.).  You can also use some of the stories told in the book as examples of pourquoi tales.

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