Please Mr. Panda – ask politely

th-1When animals act impolitely, Mr. Panda has second thoughts about sharing his delicious-looking doughnuts.

Bibliographic Info:  Antony, Steve  Please, Mr. Panda Scholastic (2014) 32pp  Formats:  Hardcover, iBook ISBN: 978-0-545-80417-2, Kindle  Interest Level: preK-2  Reading Level (Grade Level Equivalent): not available  Genre: Comedy and Humor, Read Aloud  Themes: Manners and Conduct, Social Development

StorytimeWow_FinalLogo-1Please, Mr. Panda was given the StorytimeWOW Marquee Seal on March 14th, 2015 and has been selected for the PictureBookWOW and Picture eBookWOW collections at  Read the Storytime section below for details on why this picture book was selected and how it meets the StorytimeWOW Standards.

Summary:   Mr. Panda is politely giving away his yummy-looking doughnuts, but he changes his mind when a penguin, a skunk, and a whale all say yes but do not remember to say “please” and “thank you.”

thReview:  Please Mr. Panda is a simple story about manners and conduct that makes a good read aloud.  Cute Mr. Panda wants to give away some delicious-looking doughnuts for free.  All he asks for is a receiver with manners.  What follows is a series of funny exchanges between the patient Mr. Panda and several poorly-mannered animals.  Brightly colored illustrations (doughnuts) set against plain backgrounds make Please, Mr. Panda a delicious treat for group storytimes.

Storytime:  Please Mr. Panda is a fun read aloud. This delicious doughnut-filled story meets the following StorytimeWOW Standards:

  • Dynamic writing and universal appeal.  Mr. Panda is an interesting character who will hook your listeners the first time he says “I have changed my mind” at the beginning of the story.
  • A strong writing/illustrating relationship is evident. The illustrations help to tell the story by conveying how Mr. Panda (and all the animals) feel.
  • The “WOW” factor (it’s fun for kids) is evident. Children enjoy getting to know Mr. Panda.
  • Please Mr. Panda is short and is well-suited for repetition. Young children will want to read and tell the story to you.
  • Big and easy to see illustrations of the main character work well for group storytime.  This is a story that does not need to be projected on a big screen to be enjoyed by groups.  However, it is available in the iBook format.  Using a large screen will add to the experience by allowing participants to see the smaller animal’s expressions more clearly from a distance.
  • The takeaway is that children will be encouraged to be gracious and ask nicely.
  • Teaching children manners may not sound like a fun theme, but it is an important one.  In this sense, the book is child-centered.  Please, Mr. Panda manages to perform this task with humor.  The comedy in this story makes the book appealing to children.
  • The concept is highly engaging and free of squirmy moments.
  • The interest level of this story hits the target of preK and extends up through second grade.
  • There are repetitive elements in this story that may be utilized for participation.

th-2Storytime Tips:  To use this book during storytime, ask children if they think Mr. Panda will give each animal a doughnut before turning the page.  In smaller groups, ask children why or why not.  After you tell the story once, you may even assign them the repeated line “No, you cannot have a doughnut.”

Early Childhood Education and Development:  The following lists the stand-out benefits of Please, Mr. Panda across various early childhood education (ECE) and child development checklists.

1. Please, Mr. Panda is a picture book/eBook that cultivates the following Pre-Reading Skills (see full list of pre-reading skills here):

  • Noticing print and following words on a page or screen (print awareness).
  • Cultivates interest and enjoyment in books (print motivation).
  • Being able to describe things (narrative skills)

2. This picture book/eBook provides opportunities to utilize the Early Literacy-building Parent Practices (see full list of parent practices here):

  • Talking with children builds their early literacy.  In this case, talk about Mr. Panda, manners, and the conduct of the animals.
  • Reading together is “the single most effective way to help children become proficient readers” (source:  Every Child Ready to Read).

3. This picture book/eBook builds children’s Kindergarten Readiness (see full checklist here).  Children well-prepared for kindergarten are able to:

  • Listen to stories without interrupting
  • Pay attention for short periods of time to adult-directed tasks
  • Speak understandably
  • Talk in complete sentences of five to six words
  • Look at pictures and then tell stories

4. This picture book/eBook follows Common Core Guidelines (see full list here):

  • Increase focus on children’s comprehension through dialogic reading.  Ask questions before, during and after telling stories.
  • Create a more participatory culture in group programs and classroom settings.  Use materials that invite participation and keep learners engaged.

5. This picture book/eBook supports the following “emerging mental abilities” in young children by providing opportunities for “key experiences” that strengthen and broaden these abilities (see full list here):

  • Using Language (conversing with adults about personally meaningful experiences, describing objects verbally, naming and expressing feelings in words, listening to others describe objects and events, listening to stories and poems being read, making up stories)
  • Temporal Relations (starting and stopping an action on signal)

th-3Bibliotherapeutic Usefulness:  This book tackles an important theme for children’s social development, good and poor manners.  After reading the story, ask kids why Mr. Panda did not give doughnuts to the first few animals.  Ask children why he gave them to the Lemur.  Ask how each animal behaved and what the animal could have done differently. 

Read-alikesI Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen, Please is a Good Word to Say by Barbara Joosse, and The Duckling Gets a Cookie by Mo Willems are more picture books about the theme of manners and conduct.

Awards/Honors:  Please, Mr. Panda was The Times Children’s Book of the Week in the UK.  It was also selected as a Barnes & Noble’s Picture Book of the Month.

Links:  author’s website   Scholastic   Amazon  

Other Reviews:  Goodreads   Kirkus

I found this story on a bookstore shelf and chose to review it because I believe it will work well for preK storytimes.

3Make Reading More Fun

Written by Tom Schween, founder of storytimeWOW!