Pi-shu the Little Panda

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Butler (Little Sibu) turns the spotlight on another endangered species in this tenderly delineated tale of a baby panda, his mother and their quest for a peaceful habitat. Beginning with Pi-shu's birth ("He was no bigger than one of the patches around his mother's eyes"), Butler tracks the little panda's adventurous first year, shedding light on its diet (bamboo) and fellow creatures, including "frogs that jumped when he sniffed them" and golden monkeys that he follows down the mountainside. The author also hints at the panda's disappearing habitat when "a smoky smell warned him to stop" and he sees men clearing away timber. Mother and cub then make the trek over the snowy mountains to a remote valley, their new home. Butler's simple story line effectively relates basic information (expanded on in an afterword) while remaining true to the animals' nature, but it's the artwork that takes center stage. Although a few images border on the excessively cute (the animals, for instance, all appear to be smiling), the lush details on uncluttered backgrounds perfectly capture sweeping vistas as well as the tiniest fern frond. Butler also compellingly outlines the intimacy between mother panda and the irresistibly bright-eyed Pi-shu. Ages 4-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
The struggle for survival of pandas as their habitats are encroached upon by expanding "civilization" is epitomized for youngsters in this tale of one baby panda and his mother. As people clear away more and more of his forest home on Misty Mountain, Pi-shu and his mother Fei-Fei set out to climb through the snow to another valley where they can live in peace, at least for a while. The visual story is told in naturalistic double-page scenes that provide appropriate contexts, first lush green and then snowy blue, for the detailed paintings of the pandas and other animals they meet. The jacket/cover's image of mother and tiny Pi-shu is created to emphasize their profound, mutual love. Even as the cub grows, the relationship remains. Only one scene, of the men cutting down trees, is negatively charged; it should help provoke questions about human actions that change the environment for other creatures. Butler's pandas reinforce our natural attraction and concern for them. A final page adds additional factual information about pandas. 2001, Peachtree Publishers, $15.95. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-A story that begins with promise ends abruptly and without resolution. A newborn panda grows up close to a loving mother, learning to walk, climb, and eat bamboo. Simple panda facts, accessible to young children, are deftly woven into the narrative. The plot then changes gears, seemingly becoming an environmental tale, when Pi-shu happens upon some deforestation and, frightened by the smells and noise, runs for his mother. She "sensed that this part of the forest wasn't safe anymore," and takes her baby on a long journey over the plateau to the next valley. They arrive at a grove of bamboo next to a clear mountain stream, and the story ends. There is no indication that this is a perfect area to serve as their new home; instead, the author states that "One day Pi-shu would want to-find a place of his own to live" but is content where he is for now. This seems completely out of place with the rest of the story. The pictures are gorgeous, with panoramic views of the valleys and mountains at dusk, snow gently falling on the huddled mother and child, and expressive faces on the lifelike pandas. However, the unsatisfying conclusion detracts from an otherwise enchanting book.-Holly Belli, Bergen County Cooperative Library System, West Caldwell, NJ Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
It's difficult to resist the universal appeal of pandas, and this slight tale of a young one and his mother is no exception. Pi-shu, whose name, readers learn from the notes, is an ancient Chinese word for panda and means "brave," has a tiny tail when he is born and is barely the size of one of his mother's eye patches. But he does grow quickly and learns to eat bamboo, climb trees, and observe other animals, like bamboo rats and golden monkeys. Then men encroach upon the forest, chopping trees for their own use, causing Pi-shu and his mother to search for a more remote, safer locale. Butler's prose is somewhat overwrought, with every noun carrying the weight of an adjective, and sometimes two. The pictures are pretty, with the roly-poly pandas in their black and white furriness contrasting with the misty mountains, lush greenery, and snowy hills. Not of the caliber of the venerable Panda of Susan Bonners (1978), and rather heavy-footed in its ecological message, but-oh!-those faces. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561452422
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 3/28/2001
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 964,635
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.40 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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