Summary from GoodReads:
The moon is missing from the remote Village of Clear Sky, but only a young boy named Rendi seems to notice! Rendi has run away from home and is now working as a chore boy at the village inn. He can’t help but notice the village’s peculiar inhabitants and their problems-where has the innkeeper’s son gone? Why are Master Chao and Widow Yan always arguing? What is the crying sound Rendi keeps hearing? And how can crazy, old Mr. Shan not know if his pet is a toad or a rabbit?
But one day, a mysterious lady arrives at the Inn with the gift of storytelling, and slowly transforms the villagers and Rendi himself. As she tells more stories and the days pass in the Village of Clear Sky, Rendi begins to realize that perhaps it is his own story that holds the answers to all those questions.
Newbery Honor author Grace Lin brings readers another enthralling fantasy featuring her marvelous full-color illustrations. Starry River of the Sky is filled with Chinese folklore, fascinating characters, and exciting new adventures.
Oh my gosh, you guys, if you haven’t read anything by Grace Lin you are missing out. Particularly Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky (a companion novel!). Both of these books are children’s book, and although I try to keep my reviews here on this blog YA, with some middle grade and adult book reviews thrown in for good measure, these books are too amazing to not mention. Actually my review for Starry River of the Sky could apply to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon as well.
First, I have to comment on how gorgeous these books are. If there are ever books to not read as ebooks, these two are it. First off, Grace Lin created these beautiful, color illustrations. And let me tell you, color illustrations in children’s chapter books – pretty rare. And illustrations like these, so rich in color – they’re gorgeous. Not only do the illustrations make these books gorgeous, but the use of different fonts is pretty amazing. The main story uses a very standard font, but when we read the Chinese Folktales, the font is different. Even the page numbers are lovely (not boring black ink).
Okay, so enough about how pretty these books are. The stories are amazing. There is the main story, but throughout the book, different folktales are told. And then, somehow, all these folktales and the main story come together. It’s amazing to see it happen, especially the first time you read one of these two books. I loved getting towards the end, it is such an awesome feelings see everything making sense. I don’t want to say too much more about the plot, because I don’t want to give anything away.
Let’s talk characters! Grace Lin can create such wonderful, fully-developed characters. You like almost every one you meet, but none of them are the same, or perfect. Rendi is such a stubborn, sometimes annoying, little boy, but the reader can tell something unpleasant has happened to him which helps the reader like him. And, of course, by the end of the novel, I just loved Rendi to pieces. I wanted to bring him to my house, and take care of him, and show him tons of love. But I also grew to love all the residents of the Village of Clear Sky. They all had an important part in this novel.
But seriously, you guys should check out Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin. They are amazing! If there are ever children’s chapter books you don’t want to miss out on, it’s these two.