The Time Keeper

When the Time Keeper
saw her daughter’s hourglass,

its sand falling faster than her own,
she tipped it on its side–
stopping growth & change.
Though her child would live forever,
there would be no learning anything new,
even as this child who would be forever young
would see all those she had known as a little girl
grow old & go before her,
until there were none left,
& her memories of them would fade completely.
When the Time Keeper understood this,
she,
in a last, unselfish act,
turned her daughter’s hourglass the opposite way it had been,
just as the last grain filtered through her own,
& the daughter,
who became the Time Saver–
for she no longer tracked time
but made the time one had stretch–
lived out the years that had been allotted to her mother.

Book Review: A Big Mooncake for Little Star

81cV6C6+K8L

As part of my Post-K Summer Reading Boot Camp: https://sarahleastories.com/2019/06/08/post-k-summer-reading-boot-camp-2019/

A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin isn’t great writing but is charming nevertheless. My daughter loved this book from the beginning. The illustrations are stunning–I loved the black background with the white writing and the “not-busy” illustrations, the latter of which was an excellent use of negative space.

Though the language could have been richer with more use of metaphor, Mooncake was reminiscent of a Greek myth (i.e. an origin legend), which I enjoyed. However, I feel like this story could have been meatier (or should I say cakier?), for it would’ve been interesting had the craters on the moon been explained–like too much soda water in the batter or something.

Little Star’s an adorable but mischievous little girl who should not be excused for repeatedly disobeying her mother, who seems to not only know her daughter will disobey but expect it. I think this was a major flaw and something I have to address every time I read the story to my daughter (for whom listening can be an issue).

Though tying this tale into the phases of the moon was clever (as was the “twinkling crumbs” for the stars), there was a problem, which another reviewer on Goodreads pointed out: Where is the waxing phase?

There wasn’t any wasted space with this book, though I think the author should have used a different illustration on the inside front cover (as the illustration is the same on the inside back cover). Perhaps that was by design, showing that Little Star and her mama, like the moon, are in a continuous lunar cycle.

I do think the author including the note about the Chinese Mooncake Festival made me appreciate Mooncake more.

Though the story isn’t a compelling one, it’s okay because there isn’t a lot to read, and the illustrations and the idea behind the story make up for it. I recommend reading this story with a bit of ad-libbing to get your child interested in astronomy and/or another culture.

Recommended coordinating activity: Make a mooncake. This is the recipe I am going to try: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/swans-down-1-2-3-4-pound-cake.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34362953-a-big-mooncake-for-little-star