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Review of A Big Mooncake for Little Star

A Big Mooncake for Little Star
by Grace Lin; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    Little, Brown    40 pp.    g
8/18    978-0-316-40448-8    $17.99

Little Star and her mother bake a mooncake, the sweet treat associated with the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. The ingredients for their super-sized mooncake cover a mammoth table, because these two make their home in the night sky. No walls close them in, darkness surrounds them, and their black pajamas are covered in luminous yellow stars. Look closely at their celestial kitchen to see nods to constellations (a large and small “dipper” hang from a shelf) and even some spilled milk in the shape of the Milky Way. Little Star’s mother hangs the Big Mooncake in the sky to cool, reminding her daughter not to touch it until given permission. But the girl’s hunger overcomes her, and she sneaks off repeatedly during the night (“pat pat pat” go her feet) to snack on the mooncake (“nibble, nibble…yum!”), her trail of crumbs forming so many galaxies in the great inky-black sky. In one spread, we see twelve separate instances of Little Star nibbling on the mooncake as it gradually shrinks in size and shape to a thin crescent. Mama, hardly surprised, agrees to make another. It’s all mesmerizing — Little Star’s astral home; her outsized sense of mischief; the dwindling cake as a stand-in for the waning moon; and Lin’s pleasing, soothing text, perfect for reading aloud to little moon-watchers here on Earth.

From the July/August 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: ALA Awards.

Julie Danielson About Julie Danielson

Julie Danielson writes about picture books at the blog Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. She also writes for Kirkus Reviews and BookPage and is a lecturer for the School of Information Sciences graduate program at the University of Tennessee. Her book Wild Things!: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature, written with Betsy Bird and Peter D. Sieruta, was published in 2014.

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