The Best Kind of Mooncake, by Pearl Au-Yeung, (Oct. 2022, Page Street Kids), $18.99, ISBN: 9781645675563
A young girl sits by her family’s booth in a busy Hong Kong market, waiting patiently for her end-of-the-day treat: a mooncake with a double-yolk center. The best kind! A stranger comes charging into the marketplace, exhausted and hungry after leaving his village, sleeping in trees, and stowing away on a ship to cross the border. At first, no one pays attention to him until the girl’s mother gives him the very mooncake the girl was promised, which he hungrily gobbles up. At that point, he becomes visible: people begin speaking with him and offering him kindnesses. The girl’s mother explains that seeing someone receive a kindness often reminds others of when they received kindness. A warm story of compassion and gratitude, AuYeung’s story is inspired by true events, explained in an author’s note, alongside pictures of the author’s family. Digital illustrations have an animated feel to them, with movement, big expressions, and texture. The Best Kind of Mooncake is a story of kindness and compassion, with a poignant observation about seeing what stands in front of us even when we are tempted to look away. Endpapers show the bustling street market referenced in the story. An excellent story for Lunar New Year readalouds and for the winter holiday season – the emphasis is not on the mooncake (usually eaten during the Mid-Autumn Harvest Festival); rather, on empathy and kindness.