Starry River of the Sky

by Grace Lin

Runaway Rendi reluctantly takes a job as chore boy at the inn in the struggling Village... read more

Runaway Rendi reluctantly takes a job as chore boy at the inn in the struggling Village of Clear Sky. His plan was to get farther away from home, but he was caught stowing away in a wine merchant’s wagon. Rendi hopes he’ll get another chance to stow away, but the only guest who comes to the inn is Madame Chang, who doesn’t leave. She does tell wonderful stories, about a gentle man who grows cruel with power, and his grieving wife who eventually transforms into the moon. Rendi finds this interesting because the moon is missing from the sky each night, and at first he seems to be the only one who’s noticed. He also thinks he’s the only one who can hear the weeping that permeates the air once darkness falls. Then he realizes Madame Chang hears it too. As she did in Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (Little, Brown, 2009), Grace Lin once again fashions an intriguing plot that weaves in versions of traditional Chinese tales. In this case, the tales reflect new dimensions of the characters that populate the world in which the story is set. When Rendi, too, starts telling stories, he reveals the past he left behind—a past that catches up to him when travelers finally do arrive at the inn. Beautiful bookmaking, with decorated chapter headings and lovely, occasional full-page, full-color illustrations complete this distinctive offering that affirms the power of forgiveness and the value of love and family. (Ages 8–12)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2013

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