Books for Kids: Xander’s Panda Party

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Xander’s Panda Party
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Thomas Allen and Son
age 3-5
By author Linda Sue Park and illustrator Matt Phelan
40 pages

 Synopsis from Thomas Allen & Son

The zoo’s paucity of pandas doesn’t impede Xander’s party planning for long. He decides to invite all the bears. But Koala protests. She’s not a bear—she’s a marsupial! Does that mean she can’t come? Xander rethinks his decision to invite only bears, and “Calling all bears” evolves into “Calling all creatures.”

Reading Xander’s Panda Party reminded me of our volunteer day with the folks from Telus Canada as part of their Day of Giving initiative. We were just a handful of people offering their help at the Metro Toronto Zoo, making toys for the animals, fixing a glass enclousure and other activities. While at the zoo we had a chance to see the Giant Panda exhibit that just opened.

Xander’s Panda Party reminded the kids and I that there are so few pandas in the world, both the wild and captivity. Sometimes being the only one can be lonely, especially when you’re planning a party. Xander and the other animals in the zoo remind us that being inclusive and looking beyond the similarities can be more rewarding. The watercolour illustrations are delightful and add to the sense of a lovely garden or rather zoo party.

Xander’s Panda Party is a delightful story celebrating the simple joy of friends gathering to celebrate but I also loved the author’s notes at the back about Panda’s. Not many stories entertain and educate.

You can find a copy of Xander’s Panda Party at your local bookstore or at Thomas Allen & Son. Visit our Kid’s Books section for other great book recommendations.

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