After several setbacks, Panda finds a best friend.
Deep in the dewy forest, Panda sits alone, wishing for a friend. Not far away, he sees another panda chewing on bamboo shoots and thinks this might be a likely friend, but he doesn’t know how to approach. He tries dancing like the flamingos, but it is a series of missteps—literally. Bouncing like the lemurs just has him landing with a plop. The blue-footed boobies strut majestically, and the peacock has dazzling feathers. Panda can’t master the booby walk, and bamboo leaves are no substitute for the grandeur of the peacock’s tail. Panda trudges off into the forest to eat his dinner. At this lowest moment, the other panda peeks out from between the bamboo to say hello. Panda has “his best idea yet.” He offers to share, and a friendship is born. Lambert’s lovely illustrations carry the story with minimal text; his pages have a shiny silver background, against which his realistic animal figures pop. His message on friendship persuades, to a point: can’t Panda also be friends with animals who are different? The other panda is distinguished from Panda only by the brown of her eye patches; gray-patched Panda often appears multiple times on the page, which may lead younger listeners to wonder exactly how many pandas are in this book, so it’s best used with older preschoolers who are practiced at decoding pictures.
Sweet. (Picture book. 4-6)