Minli and her parents live in a poor village near Fruitless Mountain. Minli loves to hear her father tell the old stories, but her mother thinks they're a waste of time. No stories can change her family's fortune. Faced with her mother's sadness and frustration, Minli sets out to do just that. With the help of a talking goldfish, a painted dragon, and a few other friends she finds along the way, Minli begins to realize that her story is a continuation of the ancient tales her father has always told. Can she change her family's fortune and give history a happy ending?
Visually, this book is stunning. The illustrations are designed to look like Chinese tapestries, and the drawings that begin each chapter look like my favorite Chinese paper cuttings. The old stories told throughout the narrative are printed in a different font, making them seem older still. The thicker than usual paper adds to the historical feel of the book.
Minli is spunky, smart and kind. Her journey recalls that of Dorothy Gayle in the land of Oz, in a fresh and fantastic way. I'd recommend this enchanting book to fairy tale fans and anyone who likes a good story, beautifully told.