Booklist, September 15, 1997
This lyrical picture book introduced middle-grade readers to the Chinese Moon Festival. The narrator is Ying, who, in a perplexing move, is identified on the dust jacket but not in the body of the text. As part of the summer festival, Ying and her many cousins make paper lanterns, devour a "reunion dinner" of scrumptious treats, and pray to a "mythical goddess." More a slice of life than a story, this has a few holes. For instance, Ying mentions that her parents live far away but doesn't explain why. The paintings help to establish the ambiance and mood in a way that combines joy with longing. Although Zhong-Yuan's depiction of human faces is flawed, his textured oil paintings exhibit an appealing use of color. Suggested for large collections or where the companion piece, First Apple (1994), is in demand.
Horn Book Guide, The, July-December 1997
Illustrated with oil paintings that convey the joy of the family gathering, the text contains a young girl's description of the Moon Festival in China. The legendary Chang O, who flies to the moon to escape her husband, an abusive emperor, is mentioned often but never explained. Though informative, the text lacks tension--and never explains why the girl's parents are far away.
Multicultural Review, December 1997
Ginny Lee, Fairfield, CA
Common terms such as "downtown" and "bakeries" take on new meanings with the bright and colorful paintings of the activities in a typical Chinese village in mid-autumn at the time of one of China's most beloved festivals. Zhong Chiu Jie (Mid Autumn Festival), also called Moon Festival, is a harvest festival in China. All things round are celebrated; moon cakes are made round, people drink tea from round cups and present round oranges, the color of the full moon, to the moon goddess Chang O, who stole the peach of immortality from her husband and flew away to the moon to escape his wrath. We can still see her there, if we look carefully, sitting in her palace along with her rabbit. Families need to be round and whole, too. This is a family celebration. Members come from far away to be rejoined with their loved ones for this celebration. In China, parents and children can become separated, being sent to different provinces for work assignments. The girl in this story, if this brief vignette can be called a story, longs for her family to be whole again. The full double-page spread paintings with a few words attached to the edges portray the vibrant life of a young girl and her cousins in a small village in China. There is just enough detail to provide discussion material for the differences between a Chinese village and a small American town. The banners on the bakeries really say "Mid Autumn Moon Cakes," and the mural of Chang O portrays her name. A lovely little book, this will be enjoyed at many levels.