Wednesday, May 8, 2019
PLEASE, MR. PANDA
(Scholastic Press, 2014)
When I began to read this book for the first time, I was alarmed. A doughnut-carrying panda seemed to be a not-too-distant cousin of Grumpy Cat.
Panda: Would you like a doughnut?
Penguin: Give me the pink one.
Panda: No, you cannot have a doughnut.
I have changed my mind.
One by one, black and white critters--a skunk, an orca whale--are offered and then denied doughnuts. As an educator, I wondered why in the world anyone saw fit to publish this book. This gruff panda is not a proper role model. Bring back cutesy pandas!
But, of course, my shock was for naught. Perhaps I've become too accustomed to people who fail to practice good manners. As the book goes on, we see that panda is not a doughnut hog who lacks the ability to share; instead, panda is taking a stand for good manners. Of course! How lovely.
When I read the story aloud to a group of students, I can see them go through the same thoughts as I experienced: mean panda, greedy panda,...ah, but no. A principled panda! As students catch on, there is an implied wink shared between us.
Turns out this book is a delightful way to remind children of the power of "please".