By Steve Antony
“‘Who are all the presents for, Mr. Panda?’”
Thank You, Mr. Panda is a quick, lighthearted read starring a panda, dubbed “Mr. Panda” of course, and his lemur friend. Mr. Panda picked and wrapped presents for all his friends, so he and the lemur make the rounds passing out each present. However, the presents are not well-received; each friend seems to find something wrong with their corresponding present, whether a sweater is too large or a bow too big.
In response to their protests, the lemur maintains the same idea, repeating, “‘It’s the thought that counts.’” The last gift from Mr. Panda is for the lemur, and he is the only friend to actually thank Mr. Panda for the gift, hence the book’s title. When the lemur discovers the present is too large, it is Mr. Panda who reminds him that it is the thought that counts.
The bright yellow background through the book keeps readers upbeat in spite of Mr. Panda’s grumpy expression. The animal illustrations are adorable and pop against the solid color background.
While the plot is simple, it’s a great choice for a story time centered on the importance of appreciation or giving thanks. Even if a present is not a perfect fit, readers will learn that it’s the thought that counts indeed.