Two sisters learn there is more to their favorite Chinese holiday than feasting and moon-gazing.
The narrator is excited to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival feast with her family. As the family “comes together and becomes whole again,” they give thanks and make a wish for the coming year. The narrator’s favorite part of the dinner is dessert: mooncakes with flaky crusts and yummy fillings, red bean for little sister and lotus seed for her. Each mooncake is decorated with the image of a beautiful lady in long flowing robes. “Who is this lady?” the sisters wonder. Their grandmother tells them the ancient tale of the archer, Hou Yi, and his wife, Chang’e. A long, long time ago, Hou Yi shot down nine out of the 10 suns in the sky that were scorching the Earth. As a reward, the Heavenly Immortals gave him the potion of eternal life. Hou Yi kept the potion in a safe place, but a thief tried to steal it, and Chang’e made a very big sacrifice. After hearing this tale, the narrator gains a new appreciation for the holiday and her family and finally makes her wish to Chang’e. While the modern context presented for this popular Chinese festival is noteworthy, sadly, the story does not otherwise stand out from the crowd. Both text and illustrations are staid, summoning little of the drama of the legend or the warmth the frame should provide.
A basic book to beef up a world-cultures collection. (Picture book. 4-8)