Rory’s Stories – Please Mr Panda

I spent a long time deliberating about which book to look at first on Rory’s Stories. There are so very many books that I love and want to share with you that it was incredibly hard to pick just one. I contemplated looking at a book by a very well known author first or sharing one of my favourites from when I was teaching but in the end I decided it made most sense to just share with you our bedtime story from today. Luckily it happened to be one of my absolute favourites that I have bought since Rory came along.

Today Rory and I sat down to read ‘Please Mr Panda’ by Steve Antony. Whenever this one comes off the bookshelf Rory immediately starts pawing at the cover. Whether it’s the contrast of the gorgeous, if rather grumpy looking, black and white panda or the glittery doughnuts I’m not sure but he always seems keen to read it!

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Inside, the book is filled with bold illustrations of a range of monochrome animals, including penguins and whales, set against muted background colours. In fact the only thing bright about this book is Mr Panda’s tray of doughnuts, and who doesn’t love a good doughnut! In fact I’ve spent the last 5 minutes or so looking at the front cover of the book, rather than writing this, trying to decide which of the doughnuts I would choose for myself (the purple one if you’re interested)! One thing I really loved about the book is how some of the illustrations looked practically identical from one page to the next, but when you looked closer you realised there were tiny differences in facial expressions which gave little hints towards their feelings. The whales ‘eyebrow’ was my favourite example of this.

The story is rather short and the text is repetitive so it is perfect for little ones with a short attention span and ideal for a super quick pre bed read, not so great if you want something which is going to last you 10 minutes. I find that a book which really grabs children’s attention but also has some sort of moral to it is always a winner in my eyes and, essentially, this book provides a simple but effective lesson in manners and using the word please.

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If I was to offer any criticism it would be that, despite being on the search for politeness, Mr Panda comes across as rather rude to the animals he meets along the way. However I think this could actually work as quite a good talking point with older children.

This is genuinely a book I will return to again and again, the simplicity definitely grabs Rory’s attention already and I know I could just as easily share this with a 2, 4 or 6 year old and they would probably enjoy it but in a different way. Potentially, getting more of the added hints of humour as they get older. Definitely worth a purchase!

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