HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Pi-Shu: The Little Panda
Author: John Butler
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers, 2001
Language level: 1 (nothing objectionable)
Reading level: Ages 5-7
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Butler, John. Pi-Shu: The Little Panda (published in 2001 by Peachtree Publishers). Children love to read about animals, and they especially love to see pandas. Pi-Shu is a baby panda who lives in the bamboo forest of central China, learning to walk, climb, and eat bamboo. Under the guidance of his loving mother he meets the yaks, golden monkeys, and bamboo rats that share his highlands home. One day Pi-Shu strays down the mountainside and encounters humans who are clearing parts of the forest to farm and burning the trees for fuel. Frightened by the smells and noise, the little panda retreats safely back into the forest to his mother, who senses the encroaching danger. She and Pi-Shu find a new source of bamboo and water in an alternative place to resettle further up the mountain.
The author states that “One day Pi-shu would want to-find a place of his own to live” but is content to remain where he is for now. Simple panda facts for young children are woven into the narrative. In addition, the story becomes an environmental tale. The book’s concluding notes make clear that giant pandas like Pi-Shu are an endangered species because of the destruction of their habitat. The lovely pictures are breathtaking, with panoramic vistas of the valleys and mountains at dusk, snow gently falling on the huddled pandas, and the animals’ expressive faces. The book also has a fact page and references for more information. Young kids can really relate to the mommy panda caring for her baby.