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A Big Mooncake for Little Star

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A gorgeous picture book that tells a whimsical origin story of the phases of the moon, from award-winning, bestselling author-illustrator Grace Lin

Pat, pat, pat...

Little Star's soft feet tiptoed to the Big Mooncake.

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?

In this stunning picture book that shines as bright as the stars in the sky, Newbery Honor author Grace Lin creates a heartwarming original story that explains phases of the moon.

34 pages, Hardcover

First published August 28, 2018

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Grace Lin

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5 stars
1,494 (42%)
4 stars
1,367 (38%)
3 stars
551 (15%)
2 stars
83 (2%)
1 star
24 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 745 reviews
Profile Image for Calista.
3,879 reviews31.2k followers
September 20, 2018
A Cute beginning book about the moon. Why does the moon change shape each night? Is it because a mischievous little star is eating it night after night until they need to bake another one? Maybe.

I love Grace Lin’s artwork here. It’s almost all in black so the yellow of the moon pops off the page. The story is like having a dream. Grace said her idea for the story grew out of their families love of mooncakes.

The nephew liked this story and he thought it would be great to have a sugary treat that big to eat each night. He gave it 5 stars
Profile Image for Tina Haigler.
293 reviews99 followers
March 11, 2021
I loved this one! It was really sweet, and I thought it was a really creative take on the phases of the moon. My favorite thing about this book was the art. It was simply gorgeous! Each page was saturated with color, mostly black and yellow, giving it a very rich feel. I wish there were more books illustrated and colored this way. Needless to say, I highly recommend this to people of all ages.
Profile Image for Manybooks.
3,124 reviews104 followers
August 14, 2019
Yes indeed, if I approach Grace Lin's Little Star not so much as an annoying little human child who obviously does not listen to her mother's admonishments about not consuming, about not touching that huge and obviously delicious big mooncake until her mother tells her to, and therefore keeps on nibbling at the mooncake on the sly night after night until there is nothing left, until the mooncake has disappeared, but rather do regard Little Star more as a mythological, trickster like entity, then definitely, I do both enjoy the sweet (no pun intended) mischievous storyline of A Big Mooncake for Little Star and also how Little Star's clandestine nightly mooncake eating escapades also and obviously mirror the phases of the moon itself, from full moon to new moon, from a big and totally intact mooncake to there being nothing left but a few small crumbs, necessitating another moon(cake) being baked in order to have the lunar cycle being started again (with of course Little Star also once again nibbling until there is nothing left). A fun and delightfully imaginative lunar origin tale is A Big Mooncake for Little Star (a story that while of course first and foremost fiction, also especially with the delightful accompanying pictures of the ever decreasing big big mooncake hanging in the sky and tempting Little Star, also could be used to explain, to demonstrate the monthly phases of the moon). Highly recommended and indeed a simply lovely marriage of Grace Lin's imaginative narrative and her equally magical golden and black hued pictures (as to and for my eyes, the combination of gold and black really does visually put both Little Star and her mother in the realm of myth, into the realm of folklore and magic).
Profile Image for La Coccinelle.
2,245 reviews3,563 followers
December 12, 2018
This is really cute and really different. It's a short, sweet (pun intended) take on an origin story about the phases of the moon. Little Star and her mother bake a Big Mooncake and the mother hangs it up in the sky and tells her daughter not to touch it. But, of course, Little Star can't sleep and thinks of nothing but going back for another nibble. Surely her mother won't notice if she just has a little bit of the Big Mooncake. But, eventually, the Big Mooncake is whittled away until it's nothing but crumbs sparkling in the sky, and mother and daughter have to bake another one.

The illustrations are really unique; I don't think I've ever seen anything like them in a children's book before. The backgrounds are all black to represent the night sky, and since Little Star and her mother are dressed in black as well, the only way we can see their bodies is because their outfits are covered in stars. I thought that was a neat touch. The pages showing Little Star eating her way through the phases of the moon (from full moon to new moon) are quite cute. If I have one complaint at all, it's that the story doesn't explain the phases of the moon going the other way (which would require a growing mooncake); kids might not take issue with that, though... and if they do, it's a good excuse to have a discussion about how the moon waxes and wanes.

Overall, this is a strong picture book with a different sort of aesthetic. I'd definitely recommend this one!

Quotable moment:

Profile Image for Deborah.
Author 20 books188 followers
April 26, 2019
Charming and child-centered, strikingly illustrated on an aptly black background (the starry yellow-on-black pajamas are brilliant, and I just love how the mooncake crumbs turn into stars). Grace Lin has a knack for inventing stories that feel like re-tellings of tales that have been handed down over generations. Classic.
Profile Image for Kathy.
189 reviews2 followers
December 12, 2018
This could be a fable about how the moon wanes. However, it does not explain the moon waxing. It's sweet to imagine a little girl disobeying her mother just a little bit each night but the mother seems to expect the disobedience, which feels unaddressed. I appreciate the negative space of the night sky illustrations.
Profile Image for Flavia.
317 reviews34 followers
August 25, 2018
This has got to have been the cutest and most creative way that the lunar phases have been explained to me maybe … ever! I didn’t really read the synopsis before diving into this book, so it was a very pleasant surprise for me to discover what it was that this book was trying to teach! And this is definitely a way that I’d want to explain the moon phases to my children when (I have them and) they’re very small! I would perhaps tell them that they should listen to their mother a little better than Little Star listens to hers!

The illustrations were not my favourite style-wise, but they were very sweet! And, I really liked that the pages in this book all have a black backdrop, because it makes the moon and stars stand out quite nicely! As you can see in the photo above, it also brings into emphasis things like the salt or sugar that Little Star is pouring into the mooncake mixture. This book also really made me crave some mooncake! The ones with duck egg in the centre are my favourite, and I’ll have to run to the store now to find some!
Profile Image for Hannah.
Author 5 books206 followers
December 6, 2018
The art is sublime--the black on black, the stars, the dust that becomes the universe....love it. Going on the shortlist for gifts for babies and kids. Better get a Caldecott too.
Profile Image for Lori.
1,164 reviews34 followers
September 27, 2019
Cute book about the moon stages in which Little Star's mom bakes a big mooncake which Little Star gradually nibbles away. Illustrations show up well against the dark background.
Profile Image for Ladiibbug.
1,561 reviews62 followers
March 31, 2023
Childrens' Book

*Banned Book* The governor of Florida banned this book because both characters, a mother and her young daughter, are Asian, along with a Newberry Honor Asian author, Grace Lin. Ms. Lin is also a National Book Award Finalist for three other books.

Ms. Lin explains on the inside back cover that her favorite Asian holiday is The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. The most important customs are eating mooncakes and telling stories about the moon.

Back Cover: "Watch the phases of the moon transform as LITTLE STAR takes a bite out of the Big Mooncake!"

A charming little story. I enjoyed learning about mooncakes as this special Asian Festival.
Profile Image for Abigail.
7,113 reviews186 followers
February 28, 2019
Little Star and her mama bake a delicious-looking mooncake in this original pourquoi story explaining how the phases of the moon came to be. Warned not to snack, Little Star goes obediently to bed, only to wake in the darkness of the night hungry. Slowly, over time, she nibbles away at the mooncake, until it is all gone. Then she and Mama must bake a new one...

Inspired by her love of the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, which she explored more explicitly in her picture-book, Thanking the Moon: Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival , Grace Lin took one of the central aspects of that celebration - the consumption of mooncakes - and wove an original fairy-tale from it. Little Star's nibbling here explains the phases of the moon, as it goes from round and full to entirely "missing," appearing once again as she and her mama bake another cake. The artwork here, done in gouache paint on watercolor paper, is absolutely gorgeous, and well worthy of the Caldecott Honor it won. I loved the deep black backgrounds, and how the "crumbs" from Little Star's nibbling leads to the appearance of stars on that background. Little Star and her mother are expressively depicted, and one gets a sense of the love between them. Recommended to Grace Lin fans, fairy-tale lovers, and anyone looking for children's stories with relevance for the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival.
Profile Image for Jenny.
2,719 reviews25 followers
February 20, 2019
A lovely story depicting the phases of the moon. Little Star's mom makes a delicious mooncake and asks Little Star not to eat it yet. Little Star agrees...but then at night, she gets hungry and the moon cake looks so good, so she takes a little nibble. The next night she takes another nibble. Each night, she eats a little more and as she does, the moon(cake) shrinks, until finally it is all gone. A fun way to introduce the phases of the moon. Really lovely illustrations!
Profile Image for Cynthia.
392 reviews
November 5, 2017
A lovely and sweet picture book from Grace Lin! Bold and brilliant color palette, and comforting repetition. Like listening to a lullaby.
Profile Image for Agnė.
753 reviews57 followers
November 13, 2020
3.5 out of 5

Grace Lin's picturebook is a modern day origin myth of a waning moon. Talking about her book in the author’s note, Grace Lin explains that she “tried to imbue it with all the traits [she] associate[s] with the Moon Festival, [her favorite Asian holiday] - quiet joy, love, and beauty.” And that’s exactly what A Big Mooncake for Little Star turned out to be:

a) It's quiet and dreamy yet playfully joyful, imaginative, clever, and magical:

b) You can feel the love between Little Star and her mama emanating from the pages:

c) It's beautiful: just look at that infinite, mysterious black background full of star-like crumbs, and those starry pjs that somehow blend in and stand out at the same time!

Profile Image for Lyra.
60 reviews9 followers
August 4, 2022
نویسندگی گریس لین دیگه برای من سنده. :))) شیرین‌ترین داستان کوتاهی بود که خوندم. این زمان جادویی و ستاره‌ای رو به بچه‌هاتون و حتی خودتون هدیه بدین. خوندنش به پنج دقیقه هم نمی‌کشه، اما پنج‌تا بی‌نهایت از این پنج دقیقه‌ها رو باید بذارین رو هم تا بتونین جادویی که روتون گذاشته رو خنثی کنین.
2,056 reviews
January 30, 2019
Loved this book!!! It's just beautiful and the yellow and black motif throughout is really different and pretty. I like the depiction of the moon changing shape and the monthly baking of the cake. The kid is delightful and the relationship with the mom is so sweet. It would already be five stars, but bonus points awarded for the two decorative bears at the beginning!
Profile Image for Tasha.
4,117 reviews104 followers
September 18, 2018
Little Star and her mother bake a big mooncake together. When her mother palces the cake in the sky to cool, she reminds Little Star not to touch it until she is told to. Little Star agrees. Little Star gets ready for bed and falls right to sleep, but she wakes up in the middle of the night thinking about the mooncake. She only takes a tiny nibble and then runs back to bed. Night after night, Little Star eats a little bit more of the mooncake until finally all that was left was a tiny pile of twinkling crumbs. There was only one thing to do… bake another one!

This is a beautiful tribute to the phases of the moon that tells the story in an original and modern way. There are tiny touches of a folklore format here, but nothing that formal. Instead the story embraces the reader, so one can almost taste the cake on your tongue. The text is simple and has a wonderful playfulness to it so that readers are in on Little Star’s midnight snacks along with her.

The illustrations are exceptional, mixing whimsy with realistic figures. Even with the first bite of the Big Mooncake, a trail of starlike crumbs are left behind. Little Star and her mother wear black pajamas covered in large yellow stars that blend into the dark backgrounds of the pages. Even the endpages are wonderful with tributes to the blue of the sky in the day, a clock that monitors the phases of the moon and milk that swirls into a galaxy when spilled.

A remarkable picture book from a gifted author and illustrator. Appropriate for ages 2-5.
Profile Image for Jana.
2,591 reviews37 followers
September 11, 2018
This charming picture book has the flavor of a folk tale, but was created by the author to evoke the joy and love of the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, her favorite Asian holiday. Using sweet, calming text and gorgeous illustrations with the yellow moon and the yellow stars on black clothing to tell the story of the cycles of the moon, this book is definitely a good one to share with young children as a bedtime story or with young readers as a read aloud. This could also be a nice mentor text to help young writers create their own folk-stories.
Profile Image for Ms. B.
2,906 reviews34 followers
December 6, 2018
Cute story about a little girl who snacks on a mooncake each night thus creating the phases of the moon.
I read this as a Mock Caldecott contender. Even though I I did not like this as much as many, it could win the Caldecott. The illustrations fit well with the text and author/illustrator Grace Lin has created a unique story that could become a bedtime classic to future generations.
Profile Image for Alia.
115 reviews11 followers
September 12, 2018
I love her use of black space. I love how nothing is tied down. Little Star and her mom are floating in an expanse of blackness and wonder. They are here and everywhere! Love their relationship. Love the mischief. Really nice one from Grace Lin.
Profile Image for Allie.
1,397 reviews38 followers
June 15, 2020
It seems so unfair that Grace Lin is such an excellent writer and a talented artist as well. I love this story that feels so warm and timeless. I love that it's a sweet little myth of her own design that is based on her own kiddo and their shared love of mooncakes.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 745 reviews

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