As kids growing up we tend to learn a lot about our world and our environment by experimenting with our hands and seeing with our eyes. In the case with Roseanne Tong and Grace Lin’s rhyming children’s picture book, Round is a Mooncake, they introduce us to something we are all too familiar with; but they do so with a twist.
Their book presents a beautiful, multicultural, rhyming experience to teach shapes and vocabulary by incorporating things that are significant in the Chinese culture. Readers are brought along on a trip alongside a girl from an urban neighborhood discovering the variety of different objects that coincides with a particular shape. Throughout her journey, she is greeted by many of her family and friends. She talks about the many different shapes she sees and identifies all of them to their correct object and by the end of her trip readers are given the opportunity to realize the significance of the objects that she comes across.
She first stumbles across things that take the form of a circle, like the decorative lanterns hanging outside brightening her neighborhood street, and things that are square, like her own personalized name chop that she uses to print her name. Discovering more of her neighborhood, she begins to notice a third shape and things that are rectangle like the ink stone used for calligraphy and the abacus that is used instead of a cash register.
As she becomes more fascinated by how many different objects form different shapes in her neighborhood, she is subconsciously reminded of the importance of her Chinese American identity and the idea of valuing culture and traditions. The added rhyming scheme gives an opportunity for parents to introduce kids to poetry. Lin’s illustrations work hand in hand with Tong’s texts as her bright and vibrant watercolor pictures and backgrounds are pleasing to the eyes and enhances the rhyming text perfectly. This trip is one that you definitely don’t want to miss out on.