Bad Panda


Publication Date: 17 Aug. 2021
Format: Paperback / softback

ISBN 9780571352418

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    Are you sick of being utterly adorable? Tired of being cuddled and hugged? Fed up of having your head confused for your bottom because you just so happen to be SOOOOPER-DOOOOOPER fluffy?

    Lin: If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you're in the right book.

    Everyone thinks that Lin is the cutest panda in the world. So much so that they ship her off to the local zoo, away from her beloved brother, to be ogled at by the masses. But Lin HATES being cute, and now she will do everything in her power to prove that she's the baddest, meanest, most un-cute animal in the zoo.

    Information

    Book Type: Early Readers
    Age Group: 7 years +
    Traffic Lights: Amber
    Class Novel: No
    Good Reads Rating: 5/5
    Literary Rating: 4.5/5

    Review

    Lin is the cutest, fluffiest panda anyone has ever seen. She's been a celebrity since birth, used on all the sanctuary advertising and gawped at by tourists. Her mother and the panda elders are always telling her to be on her best behaviour, to wash her paws, hand her homework in, and share the panda cakes. But all Lin wants to do is roll in the dirt with her older brother, who was blessed with a face like "a bag of potatoes" and never has to do the right thing.

    When Lin is sent away from the sanctuary to represent the pandas at a zoo, she hatches an escape plan. If being a good panda got her sent to the zoo, then surely being a bad panda will get her sent back! Helped on her way by her new panda friend Fu, Lin sets about scaring pigeons, growling at tourists, and even leaving her enclosure to scare schoolchildren into giving her their packed lunches. But no matter what Lin does, she's just too cute to be bad. Everyone thinks her behaviour is adorable!

    Lin realises that in order to truly scare people, she'll need to become the scariest thing in the zoo: a snake. A capuchin monkey called Malo helps Lin and Fu to find snake disguises, and they make their way to the reptile enclosure. There, Lin faces her worst fear: the King Cobra. Then his mother appears from the back of the enclosure and explains that he's upset because his tail is injured. Even the King Cobra isn't bad! The only bad animals in the zoo are the humans who cage the animals.

    Lin realises that the worst thing she could do--and the RIGHT thing to do--would be to free all the animals from their enclosures and take over the zoo. The animals are overjoyed at chasing the humans out, finally being free to roam and not being harassed by photographers all the time. Lin thinks she's finally done enough to be considered a bad panda! But the humans realise that this is the right way to do things: give the animals more space and stop interrupting their days. Lin just can't be bad! At least she has a zooful of great new friends to help her stop missing her brother so much, since nothing she can do will get her sent back to the sanctuary.

    A cracking good story full of humour and colourful illustrations. The story is a combination of text with illustrations and short comic strip interludes. It's hard not to coo over Lin's antics, even though she'd hate it. At her core, Lin isn't a bad panda: she wants to do the right thing and doesn't like being messy. She just wants to live in peace. This would be a great tool to explain to children that animals in zoos need to be treated with respect and care, rather than commodified and harassed. Lin's initial fear of the snake is also a great example for getting over biases and understanding others. It's also an absolute riot!

    Themes

    zoos, animals, pandas, friendship, family, escape

    Content Notes

    1. Lin's brother is literally called "Face-like-a-bag-of-potatoes". 2. The panda's propensity for "pooing' is played for laughs throughout, including referring to "a whopper panda dump" that was so gigantic it took 98 people 63 hours to clean it up, accompanied by an illustration of the cleanup (people in hazmat suits with shovels and ladders).

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