When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin


3819986 When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin, Little Brown and Company, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-12592-5

Format:  hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a starred review) 5

Genre: fairy tale

What did you like about the book?  Readers who loved Grace Lin’s Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky will find this companion novel a must-read, but new readers will be entranced as well. At the center of this novel is Pinmei, whose beloved grandmother has been kidnapped by the evil emperor. Pinmei sets out with her friend Yishan to rescue her. The two children have many adventures along the way, and Pinmei discovers that some things may not be quite what they seem.  Interspersed throughout the novel are the stories told by Pinmei’s grandmother, which Pinmei is also learning to tell. The perspective shifts, and readers also get to see the story unfolding through the grandmother’s eyes. The importance of storytelling is woven throughout the story, and a poignant author’s note at the end adds to this theme. The book is physically beautiful, with color illustrations throughout, making it a perfect gift for a book or story lover of any age. It would also be a great classroom or family read-aloud.

Anything you didn’t like about it? I liked everything about this book. The pace felt a bit more leisurely than either of the companion novels, but it was still very engaging.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Read Alikes? Recommend to readers of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky, of course, but also to readers who enjoy fairy tales. Fantasy lovers may also enjoy the magic and Pinmei’s quest. Also recommend The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander and The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia Wrede.

Who should buy this book? All elementary school, middle school, and public libraries should have this book.

Where would you shelve it ?  Middle-grade fiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Yes.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Renée Wheeler, Leominster Public Library, Leominster, MA

Date of review: December 19, 2016

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