Listen to Jane read from Mookcake Magic...
Moony is a freshly-baked traditional mooncake with both friends and foes, including the “NEW” super-sweet Shanghai Pinks. The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is fast approaching and the moon fairies can choose only one of them for Chang’e. Pecan Pie warns Moony to be careful of what he wishes for.
This chapter book will be published in the Standard’s “Goodies” newspaper from January to July 2015.
Driiiiing. The oven bell rang. Time to take out a batch of traditional mooncakes baked for the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. Cook Chan slurped the last of his breakfast noodles. Put on his tall baker's hat.
The clock struck midnight. There was a flapping of moths round a bare light bulb and a scuffling behind concrete walls.
Chan Tai was arranging a new batch of Shanghai Pinks. The moment she turned off the lights and headed to bed, the traditional mooncakes came alive.
A Shanghai Pink burst out of the winter wonderland. "We're sugar and ice, and all things nice. Why would the moon fairies pick you?"
Other Pinks fell like angry snowballs on top of the Traditionals. It was a very cake-in-your-face affair, until –
"Freeze!" called Pecan Pie, and Moony heard someone coming downstairs.
Crash! The tin of mooncakes landed, spilling the Traditionals across the bakery floor.
"Oh, drat, they're back!" said a Shanghai Pink.
She bounced to the winter wonderland to sulk with her friends.
"Ow!" Moony hit the pavement with a THUMP.
"I'm still alive!" said Red Bean, emerging from a pile of used bun wrappers.
But Suzhou Ham wasn't. For all his doom and gloom, he'd been such a solid friend.
The moon fairies rocketed Moony to the moon. A shower of moon dust streamed behind their magical chariot.
Shooting stars. Sonic comets. Sparkling galaxies.
Moon snaps, lunar pies, silver drops, and Moony, who took pride of place on the cake stand. The fairies flew off to tune their instruments.
"Stick tight," said Jade Rabbit, wheeling a loaded trolley towards the icy palace gate.
As Chang'e bit into Moony's middle, her eyes misted. "Your delicious filling reminds me of cooking lotus flower seeds with my grandmother," she said. "We'd wash and boil them, peel the shells. Add sugar cane and stir, stir, stir. And I'd beg to lick the spoon."
"Have another bite," Moony said.
Pecan Pie explained why mooncakes shouldn't move while humans were around:
"When Cook Chan spotted one once, he fainted, banged his head on the till, and has never been the same since."
The mooncakes basked under the silvery moon while Pecan Pie told the story of a mysterious goddess who lived on it:
"Chang'e was sent as a punishment for stealing, from her husband - Hou Yi - a warrior god. Many years ago, when Earth had ten suns, Hou Yi shot down nine of them with magical arrows. People worshipped him.
Moony and the Traditionals were stuck inside a dark, stuffy tin far away from the beautiful moon and hidden from the moon fairies. What could we worse?
"Being without friends," Red Bean decided.
The clock struck midnight. Mid-autumn Festival day. Why hadn't the moon fairies come yet?
A group of Shanghai Pinks appeared from a hole in the skirting board and slyly slid back up to their shelf.
So this was a traditional Mid-Autumn Moon festival!
Silvery shadows, soft grass and circles of families in the park under the bright white moon.
"Let me go," cried Moony, and the moon fairies' wings opened like flower blossom. Moony was top plate on a silver cake stand in Jade Rabbit's kitchen.
Jade Rabbit looked like a giant fluffy-tailed rat. He stood upright with his ears pinned back to a green jade suit which stuck to his body like icing. One of his legs was a bony stump. "Good, a Traditional," he said. "Calm down, mooncake. We're all eaten one day."
Chang'e spoke. "Our spirits are remembered, and thus live forever, only if we've been extremely good. Or extremely bad. And it was very bad of me to steal my husband's potion."
"If only he knew how miserable you are without him," said Jade Rabbit.