By Mary Harris Russell
1:44 PM EST, December 3, 2012
'Starry River of the Sky'
By Grace Lin
Little, Brown, $17.99, ages 8-12
What kind of a teenage runaway, tumbling out of a wine merchant's cart in a remote Chinese village, hears the moon crying? Rendi, forced to become an inn's chore boy, seems surrounded by drudgery and people he dislikes. Yet by the end, after listening to the folktales various characters tell, Rendi finds out who he really is, who he can become and even why the moon is crying. The first time the action stops for a folktale, it seems an interruption, but soon the patterns build powerfully. In a world where a toad is called "Rabbit," fish can dance and tigers can be men, the stories finally make everything fit in.
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