Where the Mountain Meets the Moon|Grace Lin


A Time Magazine 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time selection ​
A Reader's Digest Best Children's Book of All Time​

This stunning fantasy inspired by Chinese folklore is a companion novel to Starry River of the Sky and the New York Times bestselling and National Book Award finalist When the Sea Turned to Silver

In the valley of Fruitless mountain, a young girl named Minli lives in a ramshackle hut with her parents. In the evenings, her father regales her with old folktales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man on the Moon, who knows the answers to all of life's questions. Inspired by these stories, Minli sets off on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man on the Moon to ask him how she can change her family's fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest for the ultimate answer.

Grace Lin, author of the beloved Year of the Dog and Year of the Rat returns with a wondrous story of adventure, faith, and friendship. A fantasy crossed with Chinese folklore, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a timeless story reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz and Kelly Barnhill's The Girl Who Drank the Moon. Her beautiful illustrations, printed in full-color, accompany the text throughout. Once again, she has created a charming, engaging book for young readers.


  • ISBN-13: 9780316114271
  • ISBN-10: 0316114278
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publish Date: July 2009
  • Dimensions: 7.96 x 5.53 x 1.09 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Page Count: 288
  • Reading Level: Ages 8-12

Where troubles melt like lemondrops

According to my records, I have read The Wizard of Oz 17 times. That’s a conservative estimate and doesn’t count the number of times I heard the book read aloud when I was a child. I have defended L. Frank Baum’s work from detractors who find it didactic or flat, and I have watched the eyes of more than 300 second-graders as they absorb the story of Dorothy and her adventures.

Grace Lin’s latest book, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, is part Chinese legend, part Zen storytelling, part feminist-inspired folktale and many parts Oz. My list of “things that are just like Oz” includes: a girl on a journey for a magical being, a friend who needs help, a brick road, cliffhanger chapter endings, old-fashioned full-color illustrations and a dramatic tone. But, despite my long list, Lin’s adventure story reads like an homage to Oz rather than a story derived from it.

Our heroine, Minli, spends her family’s hard-earned money on a goldfish that is supposed to change their fortune. Ma is the keeper of the money, and she complains constantly about her family’s impoverished state. The stories of the talking goldfish inspire Minli to set out on a journey to Never-Ending Mountain, where she will ask the Old Man in the Moon for help.

Following the traditions of the hero myth, Lin portrays Minli as she travels far from home, carrying items that end up being important for her survival. She meets a magical and beloved dragon companion who helps her see what is really important. She meets and overcomes challenges and has to complete her mission alone. And, in the end, Minli learns what she is supposed to learn. Every character in the story changes and grows during the time that Minli is away.

My future second-graders are going to love Minli and her stories when I read this book to them next year. They will see the similarities to Oz, but that will only make the story better for them. Suspenseful without being scary, complex without being complicated, this spirited tale of self-discovery and fate has a little something for every reader.

Robin Smith shares Oz and other stories with her second-grade class in Nashville.