Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 3 to 5
- Grade: p to k
- Reading age: 3 to 5
Mooncakes is the lyrical story of a young girl who shares the special celebration of the Chinese Moon Festival with her parents. As they eat mooncakes, drink tea and watch the night sky together, Mama and Baba tell ancient tales of a magical tree that can never be cut down, the Jade Rabbit who came to live on the moon and one brave woman's journey to eternal life. With a gentle focus on the importance of family, Mooncakes is a perfect book for parent and child to read together, while its educational aspect makes it ideal for school libraries that wish to provide an insight into a unique cultural holiday.
About the authors
Loretta Seto is a fiction and screenwriter, as well as a playwright. She has been published in Ricepapermagazine and the anthology Strike the Wok. Loretta completed her MFA in creative writing at UBCand is excited by the challenges she faces writing in different genres. Mooncakes is her first children'sbook. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. For more information, visit www.lorettaseto.com.
Renné Benoit is living her childhood dream of being an artist. Trained in graphic design, she is the award-winning illustrator of more than 15 books for children. Her awards include the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award for Children's Literature for Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion; the OLA Silver Birch Express Award for The Secret of the Village Fool; and the Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Prize for both Fraser Bear and Goodbye to Griffith Street. The latter was also nominated for the Amelia Frances Howard Gibbon Award. Big City Bees was nominated for the Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Illustration, and A Year of Borrowed Men was a finalist for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, among others. Renné lives in St. Thomas, Ontario.
- Commended, CCBC Choices selection
- Commended, Resource Links "The Year's Best"
- Commended, CCBC Best Books
"Warm and appealing watercolor-and-gouache illustrations show a young girl's family together as they light and hang lanterns, watch the glowing moon in the night sky, drink steaming tea and eat delicious mooncakes...The framework of a family celebration is effective and satisfying here, and listeners will enjoy curling up with their parents, learning about or re-experiencing some of the holiday traditions, hearing the funny and comforting stories, and perhaps even drifting off to sleep...Lovely."
"The ancient stories feature rich vocabulary and intriguing images. Decorated with a scroll design and appearing in italics, the three tales also look ornate on the pages of the book. The young girl’s responses to the stories are reflective and full of wonder...Benoit's watercolour, coloured pencil and gouache illustrations present a warm, loving family sharing traditions...This is a wonderful book to introduce cultures and holidays. Highly Recommended."
"A charming picturebook about a family spending time together...Silvery moonlight seems to touch the soft watercolor illustrations that accompany the flowing text."
Library Media Connection
"A lovely, touching story that functions well as both entertainment and an introduction to a snippet of Chinese culture...Seto seamlessly blends the contemporary storyline with the traditional narratives...Benoit's moody palette of muted greys, blues, greens, and oranges evokes the nighttime setting, giving way to unexpected pops of brighter colour when the narrative switches to folktales...A treat as sweet as the titular pastry."
Quill & Quire
"A generous trim size and skillful use of white space usher readers into this loving story of a little girl and her family as they celebrate the Chinese Moon Festival...In the contemporary story, the mooncakes seem real enough to eat, the teapot and cups are beautifully rendered, and the night sky sparkles. This quiet gem will make an effective read-aloud to introduce the Moon Festival and Chinese culture."
School Library Journal
"A lovely story told with all the gentleness that family times evoke...The paintings that accompany are just right. They are equally quiet, using soft colors and moonlit images of the family sharing the spirit of the festival. The feeling changes as the story switches from the traditional tales to the food being shared. It is magical and touching, and very exciting for our young narrator. A cozy chair, a cup of tea and a mooncake to share with a loving family!"
Sal's Fiction Addiction blog
"For the 2nd grade social studies curriculum and studies of other cultures, this is perfect."
Tucson Unified School District
"This simple story features evocative language...[and] the illustrations are filled with scenes of quiet celebration and soft colors."
Reading Today Online
"A cozy family story rooted in tradition...Told from the child’s point of view, the narrative is simply written and nicely cadenced. The folktales offer an imaginative addition to the narrative as well as a window into Chinese legend. Created with colored pencils, watercolors, and gouache, the double-page illustrations create a series of warm family scenes and tableaux from folklore, all suffused with pale golden light. The many rounded shapes reinforce the sense of harmony that pervades the story."