Monday, February 9, 2009

Review #15: Little Panda

Dad:  Today we are reviewing a book I love, love, love: "Little Panda."
Isaac (age 10):  The letters on the title go down because Chinese writing goes down instead of sideways...
Gracie (age 8):  And pandas are in China.
Dad:  The person who made this book has a great name - Renata Liwska.
Isaac:  Is she from China?  Hong Kong?
Dad:  The bio on the jacket said she's never been to China -- so she never met a real panda.  But she watched pandas on her computer to study them.  I wonder if we could find pandas on the computer.
Gracie:  Let's go!
Isaac:  Where is she from?
Dad:  I don't know - it doesn't tell.  I'm guessing from America, but I don't know for sure.
Isaac:  Maybe her grandparents are from China and they moved here.  Or maybe her mom...
Gracie:  Or maybe her favorite animal is just a panda bear.
Dad:  I really don't know...
Isaac:  Does she have any relatives in China?
Dad:  I have no idea...
Gracie:  She has a cool name.  Renata Liwska.  It sounds like a famous tapdacer.  A famous Mexican tapdancer.
Dad:  You guys have got her coming from all over the world...
Gracie:  Everyone should read this book!  It's about a little panda and a flying tiger.  There's a funny surprise!
Dad:  We don't want give away the ending or the funny parts...  So can you guys talk about this book without spoiling the surprise?
Gracie:  It was awesome!  It's hilarious and adorable all mixed up!
Isaac:  Little Panda, Bao Bao, is a cutie.
Gracie:  He's adorable!  He's a little ball of glory when he's sleeping.
Lily (age 5):  He looks like a chipmunk.
Isaac:  He looks like a ball that got stuck in a tree.
Gracie:  A ball of panda glory.
Dad:  What things was Little Panda good at?
Lily:  Falling!
Dad:  What things did his mother try to teach him?
Gracie:  Running.  Jumping.  Climbing.
Lily:  And hula-hooping.
Isaac:  But mostly he just fell.  He's good at falling like
what's-his-name.  That guy with the nickname Stoneface...
Gracie:  Buster Keaton!
Isaac:  Yeah, Buster Keaton.
Gracie:  Buster Keaton is FUN!
Dad:  Tell me about Little Panda's mother...
Gracie:  His mother was good at eating!  But she must not have been very good at teaching.  He didn't do any of that stuff.  And she flings him around in circles... by one of his legs and one of his arms so he does the splits.
Dad:  Do they love each other?
Gracie:  Yes, but she makes her son do the splits.
Dad:  What about the tiger?
Gracie:  It looks like a baby tiger.  He's the size of Little Panda.
Isaac:  What is that on Bao Bao?  A birthmark?
Gracie:  No - the tiger scratched his bum-bum.
Dad:  There's a very funny picture in here, isn't there...  You guys cracked up.  I don't think I've ever heard you guys laugh so hard at a story.
Gracie:  Yeah!  Hah ha hah ha ha ha haa!!!
Dad:  It's the picture of the tiger flying...  Tell me about it - don't tell me how he flies - we'll save the surprise.  But tell me what the picture looks like...
Gracie:  It's the tiger flying...  and the mama is looking backwards at it...  hee hee he...  and it's the baby's fault that the tiger is flying...  Ha haha haha ha ha!!
Isaac:  The words make it funny -- how it happens makes it funny -- you need to hear the story...
Dad:  Did you think that was going to be how the tiger would fly?
Gracie:  No - because at the beginning there was a little tiger with wings.
Dad:  Yeah - that picture kind of throws you off...  I think the illustrator did that to trick us.
Isaac:  The pictures are really cool.
Gracie:  She made the pictures with pencil and blended a lot.
Dad:  Then she added color on the computer.
Isaac:  I knew it.
Gracie:  My favorite picture is the one with the waterfall.
Lily:  That's a long waterfall...  They're up high....
Isaac:  I see a monkey.
Lily:  Of course you see a monkey.
Dad:  This picture back here is the one I love - I want to cut it out and hang it on the wall in a frame.
Isaac:  Me too.
Gracie:  But then you would wreck the book.
Dad:  Well, we'd have to get two copies, wouldn't we.
Gracie:  Then I could cut out my favorite too.
Lily:  I want the one with the tiger flying.
Gracie:  I want the one with the waterfall.
Isaac:  I want the one with all the leaves tumbling down.
Gracie:  But Daddy wants that one.
Isaac:  Nuts.
Dad:  So, can tigers really fly?
Isaac:  In imaginations they can.
Gracie:  Wait - I know a tiger that can fly!  (Gracie throws Elijah's stuffed Baby Jaguar across the room)  "Fly, Tiger!"
Isaac:  That was more of a "flop."
Dad:  And it was more of a jaguar.  "Flop, Baby Jaguar!"
All:  Hah ha ha ha...

Bao Bao, Lin Lin, and a tiger, by Lily

falling panda, by Gracie

panda out on a limb, by Isaac

Author/Illustrator: Renata Liwska who, as it turns out, is originally from Poland and now lives in Canada...
Published 2008,
Houghton Mifflin
Like it? Find it


Z-Kids said...

(Hey everybody, just in case you were wondering but didn't spot the note above, after some poking around we discovered Renata Liwska is originally from Poland and now lives in Canada...)

ElizT said...

What a lot of laughs!
And your own illustrations are tops, as usual.

Kelly H-Y said...

That was the best review ever! And the pictures are awesome ... looks like they've inherited your artistic talents!

Lorie Ann Grover said...

Now, I have to find this book. So many mysteries! Good job not giving it away!

Elysa Castro said...

gracias por su comentario, el blog está genial!!

Wild About Words said...

Thanks so much for the post on my blog.
Love your blog. What a great way to get your children to be creative and share a love for reading!
Great job,

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a fun book review! I love the pictures that your children drew. I might have to steal that idea for a review I am doing next week. :o)

Thanks for stopping by my blog and entering the giveaway for Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Last Straw.

Amanda said...

Awesome review! Fantastic pictures!

Question: Why don't you have a follow me or subscribe to me gadget on your blog? You would probably have tons of followers and I know I would like to follow so I can read all the cute reviews and see the great pictures.

Esme Raji Codell said...

These reviews are treasures. Thank you for doing this.

Z-Kids said...

Hi all,

I've never yet drawn attention to this, but I hope people take the time to check out the links to authors' and illustrators' personal websites included at the end of Bookie Woogie reviews. There have been some Great sites!

In the case of this review, in addition to Renata's homepage shared above ( she's also got a great blog ( and a Fantastic site set up for Little Panda ( I recommend checking them all out.

Thanks to everyone who continues to visit and takes the time to comment! We have a lot of fun!


Anonymous said...

As always, the review is great. Your presentation is such a wonderful example of how you engage kids in reading. Very cool.

Brimful Curiosities said...

It is always fun speculating on the origins of a story and then doing a little research. Have the kids ever seen a real panda? I don't think I have but would love to sometime.

On On said...

wow tooooooooo cute!!! I would like to take a look of the pandas too!

I love Panda... and just bought a Panda Bag from the following Blogshop:

Nice to meet you.