This book is delightful. First of all, it’s a story told in stories, which makes it one big love letter to stories. Second, it’s based on Chinese folklore, which makes it a love letter to folklore. Third, Minli is pretty amazing, and I love her. She is up there with Ella of Frell for me. She’s smart and clever and kind. I love her, basically.
The book also has an awesome message of the importance of gratitude and how to avoid sowing bitterness. It also shows why bitterness isn’t just bad for the bitter person, but those around that person. Plus, it’s a quest/road trip, which means meeting lots of interesting characters along the way.
I also really enjoyed the narration in this book and the production of the narration. Janet Song gives the book a lyrical quality, almost like she’s reading a lullaby. Plus, there’s a little bit of music interspersed throughout. The music isn’t distracting, but rather emphasizes the musical/lyrical quality of the narrative. (Now that I think about it, I could be making up the music part and it could be that the narration was so darned charming, but I swear I heard music at some point.)
Mostly, though, I love that this book shows why stories are important and how they can be important. They are a source of comfort and strength and hope and joy. They can serve as a distraction (in a good way) or a road map. Most importantly, stories bring people together because they show us where people have been and where they are going. Stories! They’re great! Just like this book!