The Dreamweavers

Holiday House. Sept. 2021. 272p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780823444236.
Gr 3-7–Twelve-year-old twins Mei and Yun live in the mountains near the Pearl River with their grandpa and cat, Smelly Tail. The villagers find the twins strange and gossip about their parents’ mysterious disappearance on a venture to the City of Ashes. Grandpa makes irresistible mooncakes for Mei, Yun, and the villagers using his secret recipe. When the buzz on Grandpa’s renowned mooncakes travels to the emperor himself, he sends his son on a special trip to sample the dessert. It is the auspicious Autumn Festival and Grandpa is elated for the prince to try his homemade mooncakes. Instead, a nightmare transpires as the mooncakes taste horrid, the prince is displeased, and the villagers haggle to no end. Grandpa’s arrest is the final straw as the village falls into chaos and the weather goes bonkers. It is up to Mei and Yun to grasp the reins and save their grandpa, village, and parents. United, they bravely journey to the obscure City of Ashes where they meet the Jade Rabbit, fly on a magic cloud, and attempt to undo the 70-year-old curse plaguing their village. Set in the mountains of southern China, Schmidt beautifully weaves a tale rooted in Chinese folklore. The book resonates with excitement and fantasy as Mei and Yun experience magic firsthand while using their wits and brainpower. The character development is evident and convincing. 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. When two ordinary siblings are guided by compassion and big dreams, the sky’s the limit as they collaborate to achieve the unthinkable.
VERDICT Rick Riordan fans will find this story to be entertaining and engaging as the magical adventure unfolds.

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