The young girl lives with her mother and father in a poor village at the foot of Fruitless Mountain. As the mountain’s name implies, it is a barren land. They work hard every day to grow barely enough to feed themselves.
While Minli’s mother frets and pines, resenting their poverty and envying the rich, Minli’s father finds pleasure in telling the ancient tales. His stories of Jade dragon, the Old Man of the Moon, and greedy Magistrate Tiger capture Minli’s imagination.
One day, with the help of a talking goldfish, she sets out to find the Old Man of the Moon who lives at the top of Never-Ending Mountain, for it is said that he can tell her how to change her family’s fortune.
So begins a journey where she meets a real dragon (though he cannot fly), a poor but happy orphan, and the helpful folk of a hidden village, among others. Along the way she hears more tales from the past, and her adventures and heroic feats are sure to become new tales for the telling.
This Newberry Honor book by Grace Lin is beautiful both in the language and the illustrations. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is suggested for grades 3-6, and anyone who enjoys folklore or an uplifting tale.