A Big Mooncake for Little Star

A Big Mooncake for Little Star
Written and Illustrated by Grace Lin

Publisher’s Summary:
Reimagines the cycles of the moon as a mother bakes a big moon cookie and, despite Mama’s request to wait, Little Star begins nibbling at it every night.

Primary Source Pairing:
Little Star, through her tiny nibbles on the big mooncake, eats it down through the phases of the moon. What a lovely story to begin a lunar science lesson. Use the two-page spread on pages 25-26 to begin the analysis process. Invite students to study the illustrations of Little Star eating the moon cake and make observations about they see. Ask questions about what students notice about the mooncake as Little Star is slowly nibbling away. Perhaps there will be a student or two who makes the connection that this illustration is showing the phases of the moon. Use a moon phase diagram to make the connection for all students. For example, use the Lunar Phases image from Wikimedia Commons.

For this primary source pairing and science lesson extension, use “The Geography of the Great Solar Eclipse of July 14 MDCCXLVIII” (1748). In 24 embedded diagrams and drawings, this map shows the path of the 1748 Solar Eclipse and what it would look like in various parts of the world. What is so unique and rare about this work is how old it is! Ask students to figure out how old the map is and begin a discussion about how scientists have been studying the moon for hundreds of years. If possible, print out this image on the biggest possible paper for students to study. Use magnifying glasses to allow for close looking.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see.
  • What do you notice first?
  • How much of the text can you read? What does it say?
  • What do you see that looks strange or unfamiliar?
  • How are the words arranged?
  • What do you notice about the page the writing appears on?
  • What do you see on the page besides writing?
  • What other details can you see?
  • What tools and materials were used to create it?
  • What can you learn from examining this?

Credits:
The Geography of the Great Solar Eclipse of July 14 MDCCXLVIII: Library of Congress
Book Cover and Summary: Follett