Once upon a time when the moon was young there lived in China a man so old that no one knew what his name had been, and even he had long ago forgotten it."" A real, rhythmic hook of a first sentence--from which, unfortunately, the story proceeds to roll downhill. The old man, we learn straight off, is honored by the village merchants and surrounded every day by children who listen to his stories in the square. But in winter when the children no longer assemble outdoors the old man worries that they'll forget him for good when he dies--and so, with his dog Peach Stone (""so named because. . . he alone loved to eat the great golden peach [which then grew only in China] down to its crinkled stone""), he sets sail in spring to plant a real peach stone in some distant land so that the people there will never forget him. A silly story, however traditionally Chinese the old man's preoccupation--and Zimelman's tone of reverence toward a project that inspires none only makes it boring.