I’ll read anything Grace Lin at least once. How is she so consistently lovely to read?
Little, Brown, 2018. Hardcover Picture book, 40 pages
A Big Mooncake for Little Star is a gentle, joy-filled treat, Little Star trailing the cake-crumbs like the stars they become against the black page.
The realistic rendering in gouache invites us to imagine that the moon is truly a cake laid in the sky to cool, and its waning is due to the appetite of a child nibbling away at it, forgetful of the instructions to let it alone.
You learn that Little Star has done this before, and you guess that it will happen again as Mother and Child go off to bake another Moon Cake (see both the opening and closing endpapers).
A Big Mooncake for Little Star offers so many things to delight in. I love how the girl’s black pajamas are seamless with the black background (sky). There is an inviting refrain that has that right touch of playful mischief. I can practically hear her flight as she races back to bed, crumbs trailing behind her, or the patter as she gets out of bed, (expressive) bunny in tow.
In a “Note from Grace Lin:” she writes how she was inspired by the cakes at a Mid Autumn Moon Festival, “That seed bloomed into this book. It doesn’t have any roots in Chinese mythology, but I tried to imbue it with all the traits I associate with the Moon Festival—quiet joy, love, and beauty. I hope it is another story you can share during that holiday or any night you wish to feel those things.”
Lin achieves her goal, A Big Mooncake for Little Star is an experience in quiet joy, love, and beauty. It’s so good. Don’t wait for bedtime, and you’ll probably want to read it with cake.