A Big Mooncake for Little Star, by Grace Lin, will become a classic read aloud to children for generations to come. The endpapers show Little Star and her mama making a Big Mooncake. When it is baked, Little Star’s mama lays it in the night sky to cool. Little Star’s Mama says “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?” Little Star replies, “Yes, Mama.” “But in the middle of the night, Little Star woke. She forgot what her mama had said and only remembered the Big Mooncake.” So her little feet went “Pat, pat, pat.” across the sky to take a tiny nibble of the brilliant yellow Mooncake. Over the next nights she takes nibbles out of the Mooncake until it is a narrow crescent. A two page spread shows twelve phases of the shrinking moon with Little Star taking a nibble out of each one until it is a crescent. One night Little Star’s mama goes to look for the Big Mooncake and finds it is gone. Mama asks Little Star, “You ate the Big Mooncake again, didn’t you.” “Yes, Mama,” says Little Star. “Now let’s go make another one.” On the final endpapers, the story ends as it began with Little Star and her mama making a new Mooncake to place in the sky. It is a circle story. The story started with the making of the Big Mooncake and finishes with a new cake being made. Continue reading
By Judi Moreillon, Texas Woman’s University, Texas Ambassador for USBBY
Storytelling is fundamental to the human search for meaning. (Bateson 34).
Folklore, fables, myths, and legends, stories that originated in the oral tradition are the indigenous literature in every society. Since people were first able to use language for communication, oral storytelling is the way we have passed on our culture and history, beliefs and values. Traditional literature themes reoccur across cultures. These stories explain the relationships between human beings and the animal, plant, and astrological or seasonal worlds. Although the stories may include different symbols and representations, these “folk” ideas center on elemental figures—mother, father, God, trickster, hero, old man, crone, witch, or devil, and on elementary concepts—creation, destruction, birth, death, initiation or coming of age, separation from parents or community, marriage, or the union of opposites. Continue reading