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Dinner at the Panda Palace


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About the Author

Stephanie Calmenson is the author of many acclaimed books for children. They have been called "marvelous" (Publishers Weekly), "lyrical" (School Library Journal), and "sweet, funny, and right on the mark" (ALA Booklist). Her books include Dinner at the Panda Palace, a PBS Storytime Book; Welcome, Baby! Baby Rhymes for Baby Times; Good for You! Toddler Rhymes for Toddler Times; and Kindergarten Kids: Riddles, Rebuses, Wiggles, Giggles, and More! Nadine Bernard Westcott has illustrated numerous books for children, including How to Grow a Picket Fence by Mary Louise Cuneo and two popular children's songs: There's a Hole in the Bucket and Over the River and Through the Wood. She has also illustrated another book in the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series: I Can Tell by Touching by Carolyn Otto. Ms Westcott lives on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts.


When it's supper time at the Panda Palace, the hospitable Mr. Panda welcomes an array of amiable--and ravenous--animals to his restaurant. ``An elephant came first / With a trunk that was gray. / He'd been out on the road/ selling peanuts all day.'' Subsequent arrivals include a pair of royal lions, three little pigs (chased by a not so big nor so bad wolf) and four proud peacocks, until the last table (for 10) is taken by a hen and her baby chicks. But then there comes another knock at the door. Enter a tiny mouse, for whom Mr. Panda finds a makeshift table and an enormous wedge of cheese. Calmenson's ( Wanted: Warm, Furry Friend ) bouncy, rhyming verse and innovative cast of characters give this counting book zip. Readers will enjoy poring over Westcott's ( Skip to My Lou ; There's a Hole in the Bucket ) frolicsome pictures as they take stock of the animals' antics, facial expressions and choice of entrees. Only after many rereadings will little ones get their fill. Ages 3-8. ( Mar. )

PreS-Gr 2-- As Mr. Panda graciously greets guests arriving at his restaurant, he also invites readers to enjoy a rollicking counting rhyme. A peanut-selling elephant shows up first, then two carsick lions, three pigs (carrying their building materials and pursued by a slavering wolf), and on through assorted critters until ten chickens bring seating to capacity. When a tiny mouse asks to come in, Mr. Panda hastily makes room because, ``No matter how many,/ No matter how few,/ There will always be room/ At the Palace for you!'' Unforced, funny quatrains are reinforced with hilarious illustrations full of perfect details. The party of penguins is served fish, five monkeys have bananas, the giraffes (who had been painting rooftops) nibble leaves and twigs, peacocks dine on snails. And, as the guests depart carrying doggie bags, and the alligator waiters sponge tables, readers will almost be able to hear Mr. Panda say, ``Whew!'' as he hangs the closed sign. Perfect company for Hogrogian's Always Room for One More (Holt, 1965) and De Regniers's May I Bring a Friend (Atheneum, 1964). --Virginia Opocensky, formerly at Lincoln City Libraries, NB

"This sprightly story in rhyme also incorporates a counting lesson [and] closes on a warm, satisfying note."--" ALA Booklist""Unforced, funny quatrains are reinforced with hilarious illustrations full of perfect details."--" School Library Journal"

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