cover image The Dreamweavers

The Dreamweavers

G.Z. Schmidt. Holiday House, $17.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4423-6

In the 1500s, 12-year-old fraternal twins Mei and Yun Wu, who have lived with their grandfather since their parents disappeared six years ago, eagerly anticipate the Mid-Autumn Festival, especially since the son of China’s emperor will visit the village to sample Grandpa Wu’s famed secret-ingredient mooncakes. But when strange weather sours the mood—and Grandpa’s mooncakes—the prince is insulted, and Grandpa is taken away by royal officials. Opposite but balanced, the twins combine their strengths to devise a rescue plan, hoping to learn the truth behind their scholar parents’ mysterious disappearance along the way. Their trek leads them to the cursed City of Ashes, where an encounter with the mythical Jade Rabbit reveals a tantalizing inherited gift. Armed with this knowledge, and striking a deal with a vengeful riddle-speaking poet, the twins sneak into the Imperial Palace for answers. In homage to her Chinese roots, Schmidt adroitly interweaves fantastical mythology with the historical context of the Ming Dynasty. Though some plot points skew predictable, the twins’ unbreakable bond, paired with rich folkloric details, make for a heartening read. Back matter features an author’s note detailing story influences. Ages 8–12. Agent: Adria Goetz, Martin Literary Management. (Sept.)