My 7-year-old daughter wants me to tell you about her new favorite book: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon 月夜仙踪 (yuèyè xiān zōng)! So here we are! Available in English and Chinese, Grace Lin’s middle-grade, fantasy-adventure novel is a true masterpiece.
To be honest, I haven’t been able to keep up with my daughter’s reading! Since I’ve only read part of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon in English, much of this book review is based on my daughter’s bilingual, enthusiastic report!
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Where the Mountain Meets the Moon 月夜仙踪
- Author and illustrator: Grace Lin 林珮思 (Línpèisī)
- Age: 8-12 years
- Grade level: 5 and up
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (English); 河北教育出版社 (simplified Chinese); 小天下 (traditional Chinese)
- Where to buy:
What is Where the Mountain Meets the Moon 月夜仙踪 about?
Minli 敏俐 (Mǐn lì) lives with her parents in Fruitless Mountain 无果山 (Wú guǒ shān). Minli’s family is poor, but her father’s stories are rich and encouraging. When her father tells about the Old Man of the Moon who has the power to change a family’s fortune, Minli becomes determined to find him. On her journey, she meets Dragon who can but not fly, and Dragon becomes her good friend.
Eventually, when Minli and Dragon encounter the Old Man, Old Man offers her the chance to ask only 1 question. Minli has to consider which dilemma is more important: to fix her family’s fortune or to help her Dragon friend fly. She chooses the latter, and once she follows Old Man’s advice, Dragon is able to fly. While Dragon flies her back home, Minli sees transformation to fortune beyond her dreams.
Challenges with finding bilingual books for my avid elementary reader
Before discovering Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, my daughter hit a Chinese reading plateau for several months. Her English reading level has officially surpassed Chinese, so lately, she has been preferring English books. Other than historical picture books (eg, Women’s History Month), she was getting bored of Chinese books despite the countless options we have at home.
In addition, it’s been hard to gauge her reading level since she prefers to read by herself and doesn’t really want me to read to her anymore. (Sob!! My baby girl is growing up too fast!!)
I actually had no idea she was ready for middle-grade novels until the day she was glued to the couch with Where the Mountain Meets the Moon in her hands. She couldn’t put it down, didn’t want to leave the house, and finished the 278 page book in 2 days!
Although the reading level is considered middle grade due to the length, character development, and complexity of the plot, the book is also suitable for younger kids like my daughter. Note that the green tiger 绿虎 / 綠虎 (lǜ hǔ) is a particularly ‘evil’ character that my daughter describes as “a little bit scary”, the book is otherwise suspenseful but not frightening. However, there is no violence, romance, or other mature content.
Then she was over-the-moon ecstatic when I found the Chinese version, 月夜仙踪! She’s about halfway through 月夜仙踪 and discussing it with her Chinese tutor. Each page has about 1-3 unfamiliar Chinese characters.
Sometimes she uses her bilingual Youdao dictionary pen to help her read new Chinese words. However, too often she skips those words, because she doesn’t want to take the time to pause! This is something we’ve been working on, and I welcome any tips if your child has gone through something similar!
As the Chinese version is taking longer for her to finish, I’ll update this post with more thoughts when she is done!
Pictures inside Where the Mountain Meets the Moon 月夜仙踪
Here’s a peak at the font size and limited full-color, Chinese-style illustrations in the book. Most of the book is text, and as you can see below, the English font is larger and easier on the eyes compared to the Chinese font.
Have you read Where the Mountain Meets the Moon 月夜仙踪?
If you end up reading this book, let me know what you think in the comments below! We’d love to hear about your learning experience with the books you choose! What other books do you recommend we check out?
What other chapter books and novels do you recommend?
Please let me know what books you recommend around this reading level! I’d love to learn about your recommendations!