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From the moment we picked up this book we embarked on a journey through a magical China with a girl named Minli who was looking to change her families fortune.
Minli is a girl whose family is very poor. Her mother is very bitter about their lack of fortune. Her father tries to cheer the family up with his nightly tales. All day the three work in the rice fields and barely eek out enough to survive on, only one bowl of rice a day. A gift of a gold fish, a talking gold fish, steers her in the direction of finding the Old Man of the Moon. It is he who holds the book of fortune and can not only tell you of your future, but he can change it.
On her journey to Never Ending Mountain to find the home of the Old Man of the Moon, she encounters a wingless dragon who cannot fly. He has lived years in the forest all alone. During their journey together they meet the very rich and the very poor, learning lessons from all about herself, her family, and her fortune.
Told by the characters they meet, and interwoven into the story are Chinese folk tales. They are the string which connects this story to it's place and destiny just like the strings of fortune the Old Man in the Moon ties on to the people living here on earth.
The author Grace Lin has not only written the story but is a very talented artist and illustrated the book as well. This very engaging story is on the top shelf of our bookcase and will be read again and again.
Something to Do: Chinese Fortune Sticks
In Chinese culture it is said that a person's future becomes his/her past through the present. According to Chinese tradition, the successful person is the one who understands well what has happened in the past, experiences actively what is happening now to understand and create the future.
There are no guarantees that these fortune sticks will bring you good luck, but you can have a lot of good fun doing them.
- Use or make multi-colored stir sticks
- Write out 10 different fortunes on strips of papers. You will need multiples of the same fortune in each cup.
- Ten little cups,box,baskets, number them one to 10
- Place the sticks in a cup and hold them at an angle in front of you, parallel to the ground.
- Shake until some sticks poke or fall out.
- Count the number of sticks, this is your number
- Go to the cup with your number on it and read your fortune.
Here are some fortune examples but have fun and make up funny ones on your own.
- The beginning of wisdome is to desire it.
- You find beauty in ordinary things, do not lose this ability.
- It takes more than good memory to have good memories.
- Plan for much fun ahead.
- Something you lost will turn up soon.
- Make two grins grow where there was only a grouch before.
- Don't forget, you are always on the hearts of those who love you.
- A friend is a present you give yourself.
- You will step on the soil of many countries
- A single kind word will keep you warm for years.
- If you want the rainbow you must put up with the rain.