I found this book on the new-books shelf at our library, too. It’s another treasure, this time from established Newbery Honor author/illustrator Grace Lin (Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same, and The Ugly Vegetables). I wouldn’t be surprised if A Big Mooncake for Little Star were another award winner.
Here’s the description on the inside jacket: “Little Star loves the delicious Mooncake that she bakes with her mama. But she’s not supposed to eat any yet! What happens when she can’t resist a nibble?”
This is a whimsical and sweet story that reads like a parable or a folk tale about the cycles of the moon. The text creates anticipation and draws the child in by asking questions about what will happen next. This also gives it the feel of a folk tale, told by a mother to her child. On the back inside jacket, the author explains that this story was inspired by her favorite Asian holiday – the Mid Autumn Moon Festival – and the custom of eating mooncakes and telling stories about the moon. It definitely exudes the qualities the author says she associates with the Moon Festival and was striving to imbue it with: quiet joy, love, and beauty.
It has gorgeous illustrations that I can only describe as intimate. My daughters and I especially liked the spread with the different moon phases and the illustration of the mother and daughter smiling at each other after (SPOILER ALERT) Mama finds out that Little Star has eaten the mooncake. I also loved the astronomy references in the end paper illustrations.
This one is kid-approved, too. Both my kids love it (ages 3 and 6) and one or both of them has asked to read it every night since we checked it out at the library.