Title: A BIG MOONCAKE FOR LITTLE STAR
Written and illustrated by: Grace Lin
Little, Brown and Company, 2018, fiction
For ages: 3-7
Themes/topics: moon phases, family, bedtime
Little Star’s mama laid the Big Mooncake onto the night sky to cool.
“No, Little Star,” Mama said, “your Mooncake took us a long time to bake, so let’s see if you can make it last awhile. Can you remember not to touch this Big Mooncake until I tell you to?”
“Yes, Mama!” Little Star said, nodding.
Summary (from the copyright page):
Reimagines the cycles of the moon as a mother bakes a Big Moon Cookie and, despite Mama’s request to wait, Little Star begins nibbling at it every night.
Why I like this book:
On the surface, this is a simple story about a girl who repeatedly sneaks nibbles of mooncake (eaten during the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival). But there are layers here and they work together beautifully. Little Star is not only a very realistic and relatable little girl, she’s also a star in the sky who, according to this modern fable, causes the waning phases of the moon—from full to new—with her sneaky snacking. Little Star and her mother are beautifully and expressively depicted. They wear black pajamas with vivid yellow stars that match the palette of luminous yellow/white color set against night-sky black used throughout the book. I love how the mooncake crumbs Little Star trail behind her glow like stardust. And, of course, the story must begin and end with the making of mooncakes, perfectly mirroring the full moon phase. Please be sure to check out all the details of the end papers, where mother and daughter work in their night sky. Can you find the Big and Little Dippers? Ursa Major and Minor?
For further reading/activities:
This book would beautifully complement a unit on the moon phases. Students can “act out” one complete 30-day moon cycle following this activity suggested by NASA:
(For a giant collection of picture book reviews, please visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s site: http://susannahill.com/for-teachers-and-parents/perfect-picture-books/.)