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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Panda Kindergarten, written by Joanne Ryder with photos by Dr. Katherine Feng. Harper, 2009. $23.99 ages 2 and up

"When the panda cubs
are big enough to leave
their nursery and their mothers,
they are ready to have new adventures
and to make new friends
in panda kindergarten.
Here come the kindergartners!
Look at them go!"

What a beautiful photo essay to share with young readers!

Finding nonfiction to share with our children has become so much easier over the past few years, and they love it. No wonder, when a book such as this is what we have to offer!

It's so important for them to have access to factual text as it will likely become the most prevalent type of reading that they will do in the years to come. I often challenge friends and students to sit and make a list of everything they read in a day, and then categorize it when they are done...fiction or nonfiction? One of the statistics that is often quoted is that more than 80% of what we read is likely to be factual. Think about it, or try doing the listing and see for yourself.

I am always on the lookout for terrific information books.  And so, we come to this entertaining and informative book about these cuddly, cute, chubby and decidedly charming bundles of energy. One panda would be great, but sixteen...the fun is limitless.

The photographs are beautifully composed, showing a newborn cub snuggling up with an attentive mom for milk and warmth, and growing pandas being cared for by skilled and loving team members who work to assure their health. A panda is often solitary and very shy. Watching them cavort in the snow and on their 'playground' together is a special treat for all who read this book.

The text is simple, and gives just the right amount of information for young readers. They will come away from the reading more knowledgeable (the fast facts on the final page help) and in love with these gentle giants from China.

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