Read aloud or recommend Judy Allen's 32-page story of a twelve-year-old American boy's unexpected encounter with a Panda in Western China. Tudor Humphries' watercolors beautifully recreate its bamboo forest habitat. 1995 (orig.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Allen's book is clearly intended to create an awareness of the plight of the endangered giant panda. On an expedition in a western Chinese forest with his father and another botanist, Jake is left alone at the campsite while they search for orchids. He takes a walk, and returns to find a panda eating their food. The boy gives it stalks of bamboo, but fails to lure the animal out of the tent. He photographs it as it rests on his sleeping bag. Frightened by the noise of the advancing film, it rushes out. Later, a dinnertime visit from his furry friend convinces the unbelieving adults that the boy's story is true. The animal's appearance and eating habits (and the strange life cycle of the bamboo plant) are described in context. Pale watercolor illustrations show scenes of the forest in blues, browns, greens, and yellows. Photolike closeups of child and beast (and smaller paintings of the adults) add realism. Susan Bonners's Panda (Delacorte, 1978) gives much more information about the bear's life cycle for the same age group, and Miriam Schlein's Jane Goodall's Animal World: Pandas (Aladdin, 1989) is a better source for reports.-Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH