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Starry River of the Sky Hardcover – October 2, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

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, MDα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

*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. Grades 3-6. --Ann Kelley

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 810L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316125954
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316125956
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #187,182 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hello! Thanks so much for your interest in me and my books!

I grew up in Upstate NY with my parents and 2 sisters, whom are featured in many of my books, including "Dim Sum For Everyone!" and my novels, "The Year of the Dog" and "The Year of the Rat." My mother and I were the star characters in my first book, "The Ugly Vegetables"--I cut both my sisters out of that story! They were quite upset with me and made me promise never to cut them out again. And since then, I haven't...yet.

While many of my books highlight my family, not all of them do. My Newbery Honor-winning novel "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon," is an Asian inspired fantasy that some people call a Chinese 'Wizard of Oz,' and my early reader "Ling & Ting" is inspired by the old 'Flicka, Dicka & Ricka' books I read when I was young.

I hope you enjoy my books. Please visit my website: for more info about them (behind the scene stories and pictures) as well as other amusing anecdotes!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Mandy on September 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Where The Mountain Meets The Moon was the sort of book I closed with perfect contentment. A beautiful story, elegantly written, filled with delightful twists and joyful surprises. Given my love of Chinese history, culture and folklore, I had hoped I would enjoy it, but I had never read a book by Grace Lin before so I wasn't completely sure what to expect. Truly, a more perfect standalone book for children one can rarely find.

So I was surprised to hear of the release of Starry River of The Sky, the brand new companion novel to Mountain. What, I wondered, could there possibly have been left to say?

Turns out, there was quite a lot. Filled with unexpected and delightful connections to Lin's previous masterpiece, Starry River is nonetheless its very own piece of art, a perfect read-aloud that will satisfy adults just as much as kids. The story follows Rendi, an angry young boy who has run away from home. When he finds himself stuck in a poor village where the moon seems to have disappeared from the sky, his days are sullen and his nights, filled with sorrowful cries that seem to be coming from the empty night sky, are sleepless.

The characters and stories that fill this novel are just as enthralling as their predecessors, though the theme has shifted. Where Mountain focuses on the power of faith and the wisdom of story, Starry River has valuable things to say about the destructive power of anger and the healing power of forgiveness.

There is also a gentle overriding reminder that some of the most beautiful relationships spring from times of uncertainty and darkness, and that when peace returns again there is often an accompanying stab of the particular sorrow of parting--there is no such thing as perfect, in other words.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By M. Fuller on September 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
After having read Grace Lin's Newbery Honor-winning novel "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon" I could not wait to read this just-released companion book. Once again, Lin offers up a story about life with beautiful pictures and Asian inspired folk-tales interwoven throughout. What I love about her books is that the plot-line is interesting, but there are also great concepts for kids and adults alike. This book tends to focus on forgiveness and family as its main theme. It is a perfect read-aloud book and one I think grade school readers would especially enjoy.

The story line opens up with a stow away named Rendi, an young boy who is running away from home. Unfortunately for him, Rendi doesn't make it far and is dropped off at a slowly dying town called Clear Sky. While he is taken in by the family that owns the inn, he isn't all that grateful to have become the chore boy. Not only that, but the town of Clear Sky is in the middle of nowhere, so he can't easily continue on with his journey toward freedom. All the while, each night he hears loud crying and moaning from the moonless sky, and no one else seems to notice!

There are many memorable characters in this book, all of whom have a story to tell and also forgiveness to work through. I loved this book and am excited to read it to my daughters when the grow a little older.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jenna Goodall on September 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
'Where the Mountain Meets the Moon' is perhaps my favorite children's book of all time. So when I heard Grace Lin was writing a companion novel in the same style (folktales and artwork interspersed), I knew I had to get my hands on it immediately, and I hoped it would live up to 'Where the Mountain...' To be brief, yes, it did live up to my expectations. Once again Lin gives us interesting characters, many of whom are more than meets the eye. The folktales told by these characters throughout the book intertwine with the main plot line at the end of the story. The main difference between this and 'Where the Mountain...' is that the setting remains constant. It is not a physical journey for our protagonist, Rendi, but rather an emotional journey as he discovers what is important to him. Overall, really enjoyable and beautiful. I hope Lin creates another one!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I remember when Grace Lin first started writing chapter books for kids. She'd been doing picture books (mostly for others) for years and when at last she started creating small semi-fictionalized memoirs based on her own experiences she ended up tapping into a kind of 21st century need for books with a realistic "classic" (forgive the phrase) feel. The sideways shift into fully illustrated full-color folktale-based fiction felt simultaneously like a throwback to a long-forgotten era (particularly when you consider how few straight folktales are published these days) and a very hip and modern mix-and-meld of text and image and tale. The gamble paid off (they don't throw Newbery Awards at every book that meanders down the pike after all) and now, years later, Ms. Lin returns with yet another folktale/fiction retelling. She can no longer claim the small unnoticed status she once enjoyed. Not if she keeps writing books as good as this one anyway.

This wasn't part of the plan. Not the way he envisioned it, anyway. When Rendi hid in the wine merchant's traveling cart he naturally assumed it would take him somewhere big and populated. The last thing he expected was to be dumped in the middle-of-nowhere Village of Clear Sky. Now a chore boy in the only inn in the vicinity, Rendi takes his frustrations out on the inhabitants. It isn't until a mysterious and beautiful lady appears telling strange tales that he finds himself wrapped up in a mystery that may answer a twin problems: The location of the moon that disappeared several nights ago and the reason that only Rendi can hear unknown groans and moans on the night wind.
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