School Library Journal
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Gr 3-6-The moon is missing from the sky, and its absence causes unrelenting heat and drought. At night, Rendi can hear the sky moan and whimper for the missing moon, a sound that has plagued him since running away from home and ending up as a chore boy at an isolated inn. When a mysterious and glamorous guest arrives, she bring stories and asks Rendi to tell her tales in return. These stories weave the characters and plotlines together while revealing the backstory of Rendi's flight from home, the village's geography, and the missing moon, and how they tie together. This follow-up to Lin's Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (Little, Brown, 2009), takes place centuries earlier, when Magistrate Tiger's son was still young, and missing. The stories the characters tell are based on traditional Chinese folktales, but Lin adds her own elements and layers and mixes them with original tales to form a larger narrative that provides the background and the answers for the frame story. This tight and cyclical plotting, combined with Lin's vibrant, full-color paintings and chapter decorations, creates a work that is nothing short of enchanting. Like the restored moon, Starry River outshines the previous work.-Jennifer Rothschild, Prince George's County Memorial Library System, Oxon Hill, MD (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Lin returns to Chinese folklore as the foundation for this masterfully told tale. Rendi, a runaway with a shadowy past, mistakenly lands at a remote inn and is taken on as chore boy. Plagued by moans he alone hears issuing nightly from the sky, perplexed by the absence of the moon, and longing to escape the unhappy villagers, Rendi is unwillingly drawn into their problems when wise, enigmatic Madame Chang arrives. Lin's signature device of interspersing the plot with stories told by various characters enriches this story on many levels, especially when Rendi, pressured by Madame Chang, begins to tell his own revealing stories. Neither sequel nor prequel, this fantasy is linked to Lin's Newbery Honor book, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (2009), through numerous elements, including lush imagery, glorious full-color artwork, food similes ("Rendi's muscles were as soft as uncooked tofu"), and the cruel and hot-tempered Magistrate Tiger. The lively mix of adventure, mystery, and fantasy, supported by compelling character development and spellbinding language, will captivate a wide swath of readers. Ages 8-12. Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* This mesmerizing companion to the Newbery Honor Book Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (2009) does not disappoint. Rendi has run away from home, stowed in the back of a merchant's cart, until he is discovered and left stranded in the scarcely populated Village of Clear Sky. There he becomes the innkeeper's chore boy and is introduced to a cast of characters, including Mr. Shan, a wise older man; Madame Chang, a mysterious out-of-town guest with a gift for storytelling; and a toad whom Mr. Shan calls Rabbit. All the while, the moon is missing, and it seems only Rendi is tormented by the sky's sad wailing noises at night. Madame Chang insists that for each story she tells including one about ruler Wang Yi's wife, who transformed into a toad and lived out the rest of her days on the moon Rendi must tell one of his own. Unlike its predecessor, this novel is stationary in setting, but it offers up similar stories based on Chinese folklore that interweave with and advance the main narrative. Each of the tales reveals something important about the teller, and most offer a key piece of the mysterious puzzle: what happened to the moon? A few characters from Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, including Magistrate Tiger, appear on the periphery of the action. Lin's writing is clear and lyrical, her plotting complex, and her illustrations magical, all of which make this a book to be savored.--Kelley, Ann Copyright 2010 Booklist