For ages 10 – 14
Since their parents’ strange disappearance several years ago, 12-year-old twins Mei and Yun have been raised by their grandfather, who makes the best mooncakes around using a secret ingredient.
On the day of the Mid-Autumn Festival, the emperor sends his son to sample Grandpa’s renowned mooncakes—but instead of tasting wonderful, they are horrible and bitter, strangely mirroring the odd, gloomy atmosphere and attitudes that have been washing over the village in the last few days. Grandpa is arrested for insulting and harming the prince, and Mei and Yun realize they are the only two people who will come to Grandpa’s aid.
The twins set out on foot for the long journey to the emperor’s palace where Grandpa’s being taken, but a surprising stop in the eerie City of Ashes, a visit with the legendary, mystical Jade Rabbit, and an encounter with a powerful poet whose enchanted words spread curses, influence just how Mei and Yun will manage to clear their grandfather’s name.
★ Praise ★
An Entertainment Weekly Best Books for Kids Selection
A New York Public Library Best Book of the Year
★ “Peeling away at the many layers of the narrative sits revenge and love at the center. The captivating resolution is an emotional rollercoaster, but well worth the escapade. The story is balanced with imagination, love, sadness, new friends, old foes, and enchantment.” – School Library Journal (starred review)
“Readers will find themselves entranced by Schmidt’s writing, which will draw them in much in the same way that a storyteller captivates listeners when retelling a folktale.” – Booklist
“Schmidt creates a beautifully folkloric atmosphere imbued with elements of Chinese culture and myth.” – The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“In homage to her Chinese roots, Schmidt adroitly interweaves fantastical mythology with the historical context of the Ming Dynasty … The twins’ unbreakable bond, paired with rich folkloric details, make for a heartening read.” – Publishers Weekly