Are you ready for a fun, hilarious read full of warmth, giggles and even a whopper panda dump?! Of course you are! So grab yourselves a bamboocino or maybe a chocolate sundae with pizza sprinkles and sit back and enjoy Bad Panda by the fantastic duo that is Swapna and Sheena, who gave us the Dave Pigeon series.
This book grabs you immediately with a cracking opening. Young readers will be instantly hooked, wanting to know who this cute but bad character is and if they really do manage to catapult panda poo at the next ranger! I think this would make such a fun writing model, that children could create a version of their own with.
So this is a book about Lin, the famously cute and clever panda. Not that she wants to be either of those things. Really she wants to stay put with her brother, not so cute and clever, ‘Face-like-a-bag-of-potatoes’ She loves her brother and I love the warmth in the way she describes the fun times with him. But, Lin is whisked away.
But do not fear, Lin has a plan. She is going to be so bad she gets sent back to her beloved brother. She hatches this plan with her new found friend, fellow panda, Fu. I am a big fan of Fu’s great quiff!
As you can imagine, in this fast-paced, laugh-out-loud read, these master plans do not go to plan! Swapna and Sheena take you through this story with clever wit and wonderful illustrations. There is such character in each animals face; children are sure to find a favourite. It’s great to see comic strips woven into the book, making this a read that will keep young readers gripped and entertained. I think this mixed style also supports the development of reading stamina, creating breaks in style, keeping the reader focussed.
SPOILER ALERT: Lin’s plans don’t lead to her becoming the baddest panda and being sent back to her brother. In fact, the plans for chaos are in fact welcomed by the children who visit the zoo, flipping the role of the humans and the animals. I think this story line gives a great opportunity to open up discussions about zoos and animal welfare.
Highlights for me in the book are the use of the word ‘rotter’. We don’t use this enough!!! Ha ha – and it’s used so well in the book. I love the product placement of Dave Pigeon books – so funny! I love that there’s a lion named ‘Liony McLion Face’ – brilliant!!
This is a book for readers aged 6-9(ish). I think it will make a cracking read-a-loud for new classes in September – it will break the ice and create a great shared experience and lots of laughter! It’s a book those children who don’t want to be cute will certainly relate with. The book could be used as a great writing stimulus for children to plot their own bad panda plans, written with a mix of prose and comic strip style.
Get your copy here and keep your eyes peeled for the rest of the series!