by Grace Lin
Little Brown Books for Young Readers, 2012
Middle Grade Fantasy/Folktales
ABOUT THE BOOK
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.
There are some authors that the minute I know they have a new book coming out, I immediately pre-order it. Grace Lin is one of those authors. Not just because I love her gorgeous illustrations (I love those bright colors she always uses), which I do, but also because her stories always draw me in and make me want to be a part of her characters lives. So, when I heard about this book, I knew I would love it and I did.
Rendi is an interesting character from page one. While he is not particularly likeable at first, one quickly realizes that the reason he is such a jerk is because he is desperately unhappy. But it isn't until the arrival of Madame Chang that we slowly start to find out why. I also enjoyed the way the other characters lives slowly blend together with Rendi's to create a story of stories and their importance in our lives. I especially liked it when Madame Chang tells Rendi that the reason she asked him to tell stories of his own was because she wanted to know him better and that when we tell stories we reveal something of ourselves.
I loved the way the different threads of the story came together at the end. Rendi's story, Madame Chang's story, Peiyi's and her father's and brother's stories as well as that of the missing moon all come together at the end revealing the underlying theme of forgiveness. If you haven't yet read this book, I highly recommend that you do. It's definitely going on my favorites shelf.
Be sure to check out the rest of the Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts.