Author: Grace Lin
Publisher: Little Brown
Young Minli lives in the Valley of the Fruitless Mountain, where she and her parents spend their days laboring away in the fields. At night, Minli listens to her father’s tales about the Old Man of the Moon, who knows the answers to everything. Minli sets out on a quest to find the Old Man of the Moon–he will know how to bring good fortune to her family. Along the way, she befriends many magical creatures, including a talking fish, a powerful king, and a dragon who can’t fly!
Will Minli survive her treacherous journey and bring good fortune to her family? Or will she never even be able to find her way back?
WARNING MAJOR SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT
If you want to see the final ratings to know if the book was good and if you should read it or not, scroll down all the way to the bottom. There are no spoilers there.
- The writing style! I felt like I was reading an a chinese fairly tale or an old classic. The writing was smooth, fluid, and enjoyable.
- Minli is kind, tenacious, wise, adventurous, and out-going. She is a great role model for everyone (most especially little girls with a goal) and is in general really awesome!
- Everything lead up to the climax perfectly. Readers were caught up in between Minli’s exciting quest and the sorrow and worry of her parent’s at home. I kept on reading so I could find out what happened when Minli reached the end of the String of Destiny bridge–Grace Lin flashback back and forth from Dragon, Ma and Ba, and finally to Minli!
- The illustrations were absolutely gorgeous. Apparently Grace Lin is also a talented artist! From great text to excellent visuals, this is a must read!
- The chapters were short and sweet, yet engaging and 3 dimensional.
- One could argue that this is extremely similar to an all time classic, The Wizard of Oz. A young girl befriends other humans and creatures in search of a wise man who will “Get her back to Kansas”. In this case, it’s more like: “Change her family’s fortune”.
But what’s wrong with that? The Wizard of Oz was arguably one of the world’s greatest fairly tales. Let me know what you think about this in the comments section down below.
My favorite part was when Minli finally met The Old Man of the Moon and rather than asking on how she could change her family’s fortune (What she originally journeyed so far to ask) but asked instead:
“There is a dragon waiting down by the bridge.” she said. “Why can’t he fly?”
-Page 250, Chapter 43
Minli chose not only wisely but kindly (eek she’s a Ravenpuff!) This was pretty much her only chance to change what she journeyed for and she risked it all for her friend.
And obviously, this one question is what lets Dragon finally fly, all the plot twists revealed, makes the Fruitless Mountain fruitful, and changes her family’s fortune.
This has a great life lesson. What may seem like a sacrifice is actually the best for everyone.
My favorite character was Dragon because he was kind, loyal, and helpful. Minli and Dragon had a special bond from the beginning.
Minli did a lot for Dragon. She:
- Untangle him from a net
- When Dragon was hurt by the Tiger Minli immediately offered to go get help.
- Asked the Old Man of the Moon a question to help Dragon
Dragon did a lot for Minli. He:
- Ride Minli back home even though he just saw anther dragon.
- Give her the string of destiny
- Helped her get through the monkey
Dragon and Minli are both such kind people/creatures and are always willing to lend a helping hand. (I wish I had a mythical dragon.)
- How Old is the Old Man of the Moon?
- Will Minli ever learn to “ways” the Moon?
- Why does the Old Man of the Moon require only 1 question every 99 years?
- Will Minli’s children ever meet the Old Man of the Moon?
- Is Minli related to the Old Man of the Moon?
- Will the King ever get back to piece of paper? (I forget what it’s called)
- Will Minli ever give the piece of paper?
I had SO many unanswered questions this time–this book left me satisfied but I still wanted more because it was so good!
Enjoyment: 🍦Ice Cream (45/50)
Educational Value/Life Lesson:🍦 Ice Cream (50/50)
Characters: 🍦Ice Cream (48/50)
Plot: 🍩Donut (42/50)
Pacing: 🍦Ice Cream (45/50)
Writing Style: 🍦Ice Cream (50/50)
OVERALL: 🍦 Ice Cream (46/50)
This was an amazing book! I HIGHLY RECOMEND it! A perfect mixture of coming-of-age, chinese fairy tale, and beautiful illustrations.
Thank you for reading this blog post and comment down below on your favorite parts, character, and some unanswered questions you may have. (Seriously, the whole “Old Man of the Moon” plot hole was crazy!!!)
Keep on reading!