Spouting Off About Whales, and Squirrels
Monday Evening Coffee Talk, June 4th

Poetry Friday: Dinner at the Panda Palace

Over at the blog Read Roger, Horn Book editor Roger Sutton announced the new books which received starred reviews in the next issue. One of the nonfiction titles is Stephanie Calmenson's May I Pet Your Dog?: The How-to Guide for Kids Meeting Dogs (and Dogs Meeting Kids), illustrated by Jan Ormerod. We haven't seen that one yet, but count several Calmenson picture books in the collection here at home.

I've lost track of how many times I've read Calmenson's Dinner at the Panda Palace aloud. The story of a friendly restaurant is good for

1. Rhymes

The Panda Palace opened
At six one night.
All the tables were ready.
The room was just right.

2. Counting (and a new spin on at least one familiar drama)

Along came some pigs,
Who needed to hide.
"Quick, Mr. Panda.
Let us inside.

"There's a wolf on our trail.
We must lose him, you see.
We'll stay here for dinner.
Have you a table for three?"

3. Animal i.d.

The various restaurant patrons include a panda, an elephant, lions, the aforementioned pigs, peacocks, monkeys, giraffes, hyenas,  penguins, bears, chickens. The waiters are alligators. All are rendered in funny watercolor/pen-and-ink illustrations by Nadine Bernard Westcott.

4. Accommodation and acceptance

Everyone gets along even though the hyenas are hysterical, the pigs eat like pigs, mother hen can barely keep up with her nine chicks. Mr. Panda seats the whole crowd and makes room amid the 55 other diners for a lone mouse who is late to the meal.

"No matter how many,
No matter how few,
There will always be room
At the Palace for you!"

Dinner at the Panda Palace is for three to seven year olds. (And we all know that older children like picture books, too.) I would put the reading level at about second grade; it would be somewhat difficult for new readers.

For the rest of today's Poetry Friday posts, please check the blog  Adventures in Daily Living.


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I really liked the book. A good pick!

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