School Library Journal
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Gr 3-6-Minli, who lives with her poor parents in the junction of Fruitless Mountain and the Jade River, loves her father's stories about Jade Dragon and the Old Man of the Moon. Given directions by a talking goldfish, Minli sets out on a journey to ask the wise Old Man how to change her village's fortune. Along the way she encounters Dragon, who cannot fly, and other characters and magical creatures. Taking a string of destiny and a page from the Book of Fortune to Never-Ending Mountain, Minli makes a kite which becomes a bridge that only she can cross. Allowed just one question, she asks why Dragon cannot fly. When she takes away the gray stone on top of Dragon's head, he flies. Jade Dragon is reunited with one of her children, the mountain becomes lush green, and Jade River becomes clear. Interwoven throughout Minli's travels are tales whose characters and themes have been drawn from Chinese folklore. These stories help guide the journey and transform events in very believable ways. Janet Song's beautiful reading of Grace Lin's Newbery Honor book (Little, Brown, 2009) captures the emotion of the tale and wisely makes no distinction between the events Minli experiences and the stories she hears, making this richly imagined and compassionate story shine.-Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.