Posts Tagged ‘Zoos’

Bad Panda

By Swapna Haddow

Illustrated by Sheena Dempsey

ISBN 9780571352418

Faber UK

Drum roll please! Dah dah dah dum!

Welcome to the Bad Panda blog tour. This is just the start of your journey. There are other blogs to follow with lots happening, including prizes. See the guide at the end of this post for tour dates.

One of the things that makes a children’s book successful, is the collaboration between author and illustrator. The team of Swapna and Sheena, works perfectly. They obviously understand each other and it shows, as the words and pictures compliment each other beautifully, and they deservedly win awards for their hard work.

Bad Panda is their latest book and is the first one in a new series.

Lin is just the cutest of all pandas. So cute in fact, that she is taken away from her family and friends and shipped off to a zoo where people can stare at her, take photos, and ooh and ahh over her. But Lin doesn’t want to be oohed over. Lin wants to go home and be with her brother, Face-Like-A-Bag-Of-Potatoes. On board the ship Lin is kept in a cage and it is there she meets Fu, another panda, also in a cage and being shipped off to the same zoo. They soon become friends.

Lin doesn’t want to be at the zoo so she begins to plot a way to to get back home but it requires her to give up her cuteness and become Bad Panda. Lin wants to become the baddest, meanest, most un-cute animal in the zoo… because if she is really bad, surely the zoo keepers will send her home.

When Lin growls at the pigeons people just take more photos because they think she is so cute. Of course, this only makes Lin angrier and more determined to be the baddest panda ever. More plotting required.

There is so much humour as Lin and Fu try to come up with different ways to be bad. Swapna is no stranger to humour. Her Dave the Pigeon books are full of moments to laugh out loud, and Lin and Fu are just as funny. Swapna makes writing humour look so easy. The jokes flow; some tongue-in-cheek, some ironic, but always the humour flows effortlessly and leaves the reader laughing.

Sheena Dempsey adds so much to the humour with her very funny illustrations. They are deceptively simple, mostly pink and black, but look at the eyes. There is so much character, personality and humour in the eyes of the animals. Her pictures of Lin growling are just delightful, as are all the rest throughout this early chapter book.

As in all good stories there is a villain, and here it is King Cobra, a snake with death-glare stares and mean intentions.

Short chapters and heaps of illustrations make this an ideal chapter book for new and independent readers. It is also an excellent book to read aloud.

Friends are important in all of Swapna’s books. Whichever book of hers you read, and there are many, friends always have a way of making things right. They also make things wrong, which is part of the humour, but eventually friends make all the difference.

Swapna Haddow and her family moved to New Zealand in 2018. That is not so long ago, but already she is very well established in the writing world up and down the country and is in much demand for school visits, particularly at Book Fair time.

I asked Swapna about the hunourous books she liked as a child and she told me she enjoyed anything by Roald Dahl. She said the “dark humour really appealed to me”.

If you click the link above you can go to Swapna’s website and follow the links to lots of free downloadable activities. Puzzles and things to draw. Great to do right now while New Zealand is in Lockdown.

Check out the video clip below and hear as Swapna reads the first chapter of her book. After the reading, you can watch Sheena demonstrate how to draw your own picture of Lin. I can’t even draw a straight line, but with Sheena’s video and instructions I did manage to draw something a little bit resembling Lin. Give it a go.

Do check out Zac and his blog on September the 6th (he is next on the blog tour) details below, as he has a book giveaway competition.

Thanks for being part of the Bad Panda blog tour. It’s a funny read and you won’t be disappointed.

 

Pandamonia

By Chris Owen

Illustrated by Chris Nixon

ISBN 9781925163339

Fremantle Press

A day at the zoo can be so much fun as long as you follow one simple rule. Don’t wake the panda, no matter what. If you do the consequences could be bad. And I mean bad. Jumpy hippos, tickly termites and a grumpy panda make for a funny story with gorgeous full-page illustrations.

There is much to look at with the illustrations and the different animals. I do love the hyenas and their cheeky grins.  Great rhythm and rhyme make this a delightful picture book to share with young ones

The zebra, giraffe and hyenas all laugh.
The geckos and gibbons all giggle.
Which causes the emus to shimmy and sway,
and the tapirs’ bottoms to jiggle.
 
It is also perfect to add to a teacher’s classroom collection. Great support if you are looking at zoos and animal habitats. Teaching notes available here.