About the Holiday
National Panda Day was established to raise awareness of the dangers faced by these favorite, adorable animals. Destruction of the vast bamboo forests on which pandas rely for food, coupled with their low birth rate has resulted in their being placed on the endangered list. Conservation groups as well as zoos and other animal sanctuaries are working to breed and protect these gentle black-and-white beauties. If you’d like to get involved, consider donating to a local zoo program or other environmental group.
I’ll Wait, Mr. Panda
By Steve Antony
Perhaps lured by the vision of Mr. Panda wearing an apron and chef’s hat and carrying a bowl and spoon, a very fancy, fluffy alpaca approaches him and inquires, “What are you making, Mr. Panda?” Mr. Panda eyes him skeptically and tells him to wait because “it’s a surprise.” With his nose in the air, the alpaca spins around, declares that he “will not wait,” and gives a terse “Good-bye.” Little penguin seems to appear out of nowhere and, while Mr. Panda adds flour to the bowl, pipes up that he will wait.
Next on the scene is an eager aardvark wondering if Mr. Panda is making cookies. “Wait and see. It’s a surprise,” Mr. Panda answers over his shoulder as he surreptitiously stirs his ingredients and little penguin stands by. But the aardvark isn’t into such a tough assignment and also says “Good-bye.” Keen to pick up the slack, the penguin calls out from the edge of the page, “I’ll wait, Mr. Panda.”
Suddenly, the floor erupts in rabbits! They are curious to find out if Mr. Panda is making pancakes. He gives them his standard line, but the rabbits are “done waiting” and dive back into their pancake-shaped holes and disappear. Only a moment later, a white crane dashes in all a-flutter. He doesn’t care what Mr. Panda is making as long as it’s ready. When he discovers that he will have to wait, he flaps his wings and soars off the page, leaving only a “Good-bye” in his wake.
The small penguin, tired of being ignored, shouts in her loudest voice, “I’ll wait, Mr. Panda!” She stands gazing out at the right edge of the page as Mr. Panda finally notices her from the edge of the left page. He peeks slyly at her, and as readers turn the page, the little penguin is rewarded. “Surprise!” sings Mr. Panda as he rolls out a chocolate-frosted-and-sprinkled doughnut that is bigger than he is. The penguin is in awe and offers Mr. Panda the ultimate compliment—“That was worth the wait”—and a very polite “Thank you.”
Young children just learning the virtues of patience and manners will identify with the little penguin who has the right attitude and is rewarded in the end while all of the bigger, in-a-hurry animals lose out. The spare text allows even very young readers to join in, especially on Mr. Panda’s repeated request and each animal’s “Good-bye.” Read with feeling, the story will induce giggles of delight. Steve Antony’s collection of black-and-white animals with their superior, confused, and frazzled expressions will also amuse kids while they cheer for the persistent penguin. Fans of Antony’s Please, Mr. Panda, will be happy to see the return of their favorite buddy and his favorite snack.
Ages 3 – 5
Scholastic Press, 2016 | ISBN 978-1338028362
Discover more about Steve Antony, his books, and art as well as fun kids’ activities on his website!
National Panda Day Activity
Pandas in the Park Find the Differences
These pandas are enjoying a day in the park! Can you spot all the differences in the second picture on this printable Pandas in the Park Find the Differences Puzzle?
Picture Book Review