GIANT PANDAS by Gail Gibbons


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 7
Email this review


A rather lackluster primer on the big black-and-white mammal from one of the deans of picture book nonfiction. The basic facts—range, diet, reproduction, behavior, anatomy, conservation efforts—are dutifully presented in a straightforward manner but with little attention to smooth transitions or to flow. One double-page spread features on the left a picture of a giant panda rubbing its posterior against a tree to leave scent, while the facing page abruptly introduces the diet; turn the page again for more information on bamboo. The charming pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations are signature Gibbons (Halloween Is, p. 1129, etc.), but they suffer from a certain monotony of palette, as she depicts the black-and-white creatures over and over again against pale blue sky or water and pale green bamboo. Also signature Gibbons is the descent into breathless assertion at the end: “Whenever there are giant pandas in a zoo, people love to come to see them. They look like big, chubby, black-and-white teddy bears that are very playful. It is so much fun to watch them.” Such a conclusion robs the preceding text of any dignity and mercilessly patronizes its audience. A final page provides additional facts about pandas, but there is no list of recommended further reading or indication of any sources. A barely acceptable offering from an author-illustrator who is capable of much better work. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 2002
ISBN: 0-8234-1761-1
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Holiday House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2002


ChildrenFLOWERS by Gail Gibbons
by Gail Gibbons
ChildrenDINOSAUR DISCOVERIES by Gail Gibbons
by Gail Gibbons
ChildrenTRANSPORTATION by Gail Gibbons
by Gail Gibbons