Kirkus Reviews QR Code
LITTLE PANDA by Julie Abery


by Julie Abery ; illustrated by Suzie Mason

Pub Date: March 12th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-68152-414-6
Publisher: Amicus Ink

A doting mama is always close by as her Little Panda explores the world.

Rhyming couplets on every spread keep little ones turning the pages. Each page includes internal rhymes: “winking, / blinking,” “stumbling, / tumbling,” “slipping, / gripping,” etc. This rhyming vocabulary is highlighted in lavender and blue, contrasting with the otherwise neutrally colored text. These action words give the text an immediacy that’s appropriate for action-oriented toddlers. Verbs such as “spies,” “bumbles,” “plodding,” “clambers,” and “dangles,” not typical toddler repertoire, are clearly signaled by the uncluttered pictures. The mama panda and her cub look more like stuffed animals than photorealistic ones, with matching smiles and eyes. The natural setting the cub is playing in is somewhat simplified and idealized and does not reflect the species’ natural, temperate habitat, but children who live in snowy climates will recognize much of Little Panda’s play. Companion title Little Tiger follows the same format, also focusing on the caring relationship between mama and cub. The picture of the mama tiger carrying the cub in her mouth by the scruff of its neck is accurate but may elicit questions from older children.

A happy addition for children fascinated by animals, this and its companion also provide assurance that mama, whatever the species, will always be nearby.

(Board book. 1-3)