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The Order of Oddfish


90-Second Newbery: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin (2010)

May 2, 2011

First things first: this will probably be my last post before the birth of daughter number two. She’s going to have a tough act to follow in Lucy Momo, a.k.a. Baby Owl, but that’s good! Keeps Lucy from getting complacent. I have every confidence our next daughter’s birth story will be just as weird as Lucy’s birth story.

Now, on to this fantastic entry for the 90-Second Newbery film festival, by Elisa Gall’s 4th and 5th grade library helpers at the Orrington School in Evanston, Illinois. It’s of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (2010), a Newbery Honor book by Grace Lin. And, truth be told, a personal favorite of mine. I had bought it back in 2010 for the exquisite cover and color illustrations, but the story was a true delight, an unforgettable read. It felt like an instant classic to me. I was even considering doing my own 90-Second Newbery of this book. With this knockout entry, that’s no longer necessary! (Although of course others are more than welcome to also make their own 90-Second Newbery films of this book.)

I’m particularly happy this came my way because Grace Lin one of the Newbery winners who (unprompted!) promoted our contest on her blog. She even offered to send a free print from her etsy shop to whomever made a Where the Mountain Meets the Moon 90-second Newbery movie. Gracious of her!

But wait, what about the movie?! Ah, I was saving the best for last. This is a joy from start to finish. Anyone who embarks on making an amateur movie of a story with dragons, mountains, medieval Chinese cities, and tigers runs up against budget limits pretty swiftly. The kids at Orrington ingeniously got around this with their paper cut-out drawings, which were quite impressive, especially the dragon! The script and performances are brisk and funny, and the whole thing goes at such a breakneck pace that it gives a satisfying narrative whiplash.

Well done, 4th and 5th graders at Orrington! I’m looking forward to seeing you at the 90-Second Newbery film festival when we do it at the Chicago Public Library this November. (Yes, that’s right, we’re doing the film festival at the Chicago Public Library as well as the New York Public Library! Details to come soon on that.)