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BEI BEI GOES HOME by Cheryl Bardoe Kirkus Star


A Panda Story

by Cheryl Bardoe

Pub Date: Nov. 16th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-5362-1763-6
Publisher: Candlewick Entertainment

In the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C., a panda cub grows up.

Bardoe documents the early life of Bei Bei, one of the National Zoo’s most recent panda cubs, from a tiny ultrasound shadow in his mother’s womb to a bamboo grove in a Conservation and Research Center in Sichuan, China. Liberally illustrated with Smithsonian Institution images, this photobiography takes a close-up, intimate look at a panda in captivity. Like pandas in zoos all over the world, those born in Washington are officially Chinese; at the age of 4, they return to China to be part of an effort to promote panda recovery in the wild there. In the meantime, these charismatic animals draw flocks of visitors, in person and online. Bardoe’s thoughtfully crafted presentation chronicles important events in Bei Bei’s first four years with a headline and one to two paragraphs of text alongside a column of panda facts. Opposite each page of text is a page of photos (or, sometimes, a single, full-bleed image) with informative captions. The straightforward text is sprinkled with images as well. The pictures and information are well chosen for child appeal. The result is a title that will probably have considerable charm even to nonreaders. Final pages discuss pandas in the wild, their attraction for humans, and ways readers can help.

Definitely deserves a spot, even on a well-stocked panda shelf.

(Nonfiction. 6-9)