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.
*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