Xander wants to have a panda party. Just one problem: he’s the only panda at the zoo. So he decides to invite all the other bears:
Black Bear, Brown Bear, Both the Polars,
Grizzly is a rock-and-roller!
Koala is a little dozy, likes her tree all leafy-cozy.
I will ask her anyway. Surely she will want to play!
But when he sends out the invitations Koala tells him she isn’t a bear but a marsupial. Is she still welcome? Xander mulls it over and decides to invite ALL the mammals. But Rhino won’t come without his bird friend. What to do? Xanda’s Panda Party gets bigger and bigger as kids learn a bit about animals and have a lot of fun along the way. Linda Sue Park’s rhyming text is never sing-songy but is fun to read. I counted eleven rhymes for celebration alone! Matt Phelan’s simple ink and watercolor illustrations complement this sweet story.
When Chu sneezes, bad things happen. His Mom takes him to the library where there is dust in the air. But he doesn’t sneeze yet. His Dad takes him to the diner where there is a lot of pepper. But he doesn’t sneeze. But when he goes to the circus we finally get to see exactly what his sneezes can do. My kids thought Chu’s Day was hilarious. I loved Adam Rex’s illustrations, with fantastic details like The Moby Diner with a whale as the short order cook.
Matt Baek’s Panda and Polar Bear tells the story of two bears who live close to each other but never meet until one day when Panda slips down the icy cliff separating them. He gets covered with mud and mistaken for a Panda. He has fun playing with the other Panda he meets there but becomes homesick. Panda helps Polar Bear figure out how to get back home but they wonder if they will ever get to play again. I was all set to give a little lecture when we finished on how Pandas and Polar Bears don’t actually live close to each other. Yes, I know it’s just a story but it still bugged me. But in a surprise ending, the last page shows that they have been in the zoo all along and it’s their enclosures that are next to each other. My kids liked that twist and it saved them from my lecture.
More panda books:
Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?
by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle
Mrs. Harkness and the Panda by Alicia Potter (illustrations by Melissa Sweet)
Giant Pandas by Gail Gibbons
The reason we were reading about pandas was that we were planning a field trip to the National Zoo to see Bao Bao . The 4 month old giant panda cub is BIG news here in the nation’s capital. We’re usually only mild fans of the giant pandas; they are cute but it’s so crowded around their enclosure that we tend to skip them and go to see the other lesser known animals. Plus, they sleep a lot. Still, as members we were able to go last week to see the cub before her public debut so I took advantage of the opportunity. The member only preview combined with a weekday morning and cold weather meant for no lines or crowds.
Still, Bao Bao slept the whole time. Apparently she naps 20 hours a day so it’s hard to catch her doing anything else. We did see both the adult pandas more active than I had ever seen them (that’s the mother having a bamboo feast above).
Bao Bao may have disappointed a bit, but the five month old tiger cubs did not. They were super cute and active, wrestling with each other and engaged in a game of what looked like hide and seek combined with tag with their mother. We could have watched them all day if it wasn’t for the new zoo carousel beckoning my smallest cub away.