Our favourite books about pandas, the mascots for conservation and hope!
Every March, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) encourages us to turn off our lights for one hour in support of nature and our planet. This month, I’m sharing my favourite books about pandas, in dedication to their mascot, the giant panda.
The giant panda is an icon of conservation and was downgraded from ‘Endangered’ to ‘Vulnerable’ on the endangered species list in 2016. This shows that we CAN better the environmental problems we create, with the help of science, political will and local engagement.
Here are my top three favourite books about pandas. The first two are fun to read-aloud especially with funny voices, whilst the last book is apt for introducing the topic of conservation.
Has your biggest problem ever been that you don’t have a problem…? Yes, even pandas suffer from #firstworldproblems!
This book breaks the third wall, a theatre term which refers to the barrier that prevents characters in a story from knowing that they are fictional characters.
The narrator begins the story of a panda who has a “BIG problem,” but the panda protagonist loudly disagrees. Panda goes on to explain that they have no problems as they have lots to eat, a great view from their bamboo trees and lovely sunny weather.
The narrator explains that every story needs to have a problem to overcome. This incites the panda to become the problem instead! The panda rebels against the narrator, playing the banjo really badly and then introduces a second, equally problematic panda.
Losing control of the narrative makes this book a laugh-out-loud story to read with children as they delight in the panda’s obnoxious rebellion. This book appeals to the mischievous side of me, which has to come every now and again to play!
What do a penguin, zebra and panda have in common? Well, they are all black and white!
These three B&W animals take you on a top-secret tour to see how black and white products are made, like salt and pepper shakers, dice, half decks of playing cards (only spades and clubs allowed!), chess pieces and tuxedos. There are a few rules (which surprisingly AREN’T written in black and white):
No messes. No colours. No surprises allowed. EVER.
When the tour gets to the bar code room however, some color has seeped in! The reader must try and rub and tilt the book so that it comes off, which causes more colours to spread. How will our black and white animals react?
There were parts of this book that made me laugh and is great for children who prefer colouring within the lines.
Sustainability is a critical topic that has been discussed globally and is a topic which children need to know about.
This story introduces the issue of deforestation and its impact on animals through Giant, a panda bear living in the Sichuan forest.
Suddenly, a fire breaks out, igniting by humans clearing the forest for development. Giant tries to extinguish the fire himself, but the fire grows too quickly and spreads too fast. How will the animals and forest come together to save themselves?
This touching story invites children to understand the impact humans have on nature, through beautiful paintings and the will to survival.
What do you think of these three books about pandas?
I hope these stories inspire you to visit Kai Kai and Jia Jia, our panda friends who live in the Singapore River Safari. Seeing these loveable creatures would help bring these stories to life and vice versa!
Featured books are suitable for children from 5 years and up.
All books featured are available in Singapore’s public libraries and in the bookshops linked.