Green Hamster and the Quest for Fun
Quick Synopsis:

Green Hamster finds himself alone under the bonsai tree and convinces himself everyone else is having more fun and not thinking about him

Key Theme:

young children are easily bored and make assumptions; sometimes they don’t enjoy their own situation as they are measuring what others have or are doing

Supporting Themes:
  1. childhood feeling of missing out on something or easily feeling bored
  2. wanting to be something other than what you are,
  3. needing to celebrate your uniqueness not try to be like others
  4. friends welcoming Green Hamster back (prodigal son)
Synopsis:

He imagines his everyday life is less interesting than others. It makes him feel dissatisfied and he decides to go on a quest to find the most fun. This hurts  the other hamsters’ feelings a little bit as he sets off alone and by  implication implies they are not fun. He first visits the pandas who are wrestling and having fun. He feels smug and thinks this proves he was right. But he quickly finds climbing the hill difficult and realizes what is fun for pandas is not his dream day. But he is young and stubborn and still thinks others are having more fun than him.  So he sets off to see the leaping dolphins and swimming penguins. The penguins announce they are going to surf and swim and have a sushi party. Swimming sounds great but does not like sushi. He starts to miss his best friend Pink Hamster and her silly habit of eating birthday cake. Nonetheless, he tries to swim and needs to be rescued. What is a really fun time for the penguins is not as fun for a non swimming hamster. He rushes home to the hamster’s as quickly as he can and they welcome him with open arms. He basks in their usual afternoon routine. He has found the most fun and it is at home with his friends/animal family.

Green Hamster’s friendship with Pink Hamster is in many stories; the are well meaning rascals who find themselves in new mischief continuously. Brown Hamster is established as the wise elder.

 

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Red Penguin and the Missing Sushi

Quick Synopsis:

Red Penguin makes a promise to include others for a party and forgets her promise as she is bragging and being self centered

Key Theme:

People are more important than “things” and including others

Supporting Themes:
  1. Playing pranks on others can backfire and/or lead to unintended consequences
  2. when people feel excluded they can become quite sensitive
  3. the importance of keeping your word, promises
  4. say sorry when you hurt a friend’s feelings, even if it was unintended
  5. people do not like others bragging excessively; it is irritating. In Asia, it is considered very bad manners to brag
  6. In Asia, if a person knows about a party and is excluded, this person “loses face”
Synopsis:

There is a Moon Festival celebration and animal chefs are getting together to review the menu. Brown Hamster is reading a menu list and Pink and Green Hamster are spying on them. They are rascally characters who get into mischief together. They think making salad for the event is boring. Before leaving for the meeting, Red Penguin promises the sea animals she will ask to move the party to the bay so they can be included. Red Penguin is bragging about her sushi which Green and Pink Hamster find irritating. They decide to teach her a lesson and hide her sushi. They are going to hide it in the shade (not a malicious act). They are a little sneaky in this story – first spying and then sneaking the sushi away to hide it. Their plan goes awry when the Orange Bunny finds the crate and thinks it would make a nice table – she moves the sushi so then it is really missing. Brown Hamster is a bit serious and leads the hamsters. He is searching for the sushi and the dolphin shares that Blue whale was unhappy Red Penguin forgot to mention moving the party and now they are excluded. He winds up hurting sensitive Blue Whale’s feelings as he asks about the sushi but they find it quickly thereafter. They move the party to the bay and the sea animals are happy to join. The hamsters and Red Penguin own up to their mistakes and apologize.

 

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Silent Samurai and the Magnificent Rescue

Quick Synopsis:

When the chips are down, the animals forget their biases and work together to save the Samurai’s equipment.

Key Theme:

making assumptions about someone without giving them a chance can lead to misunderstandings; everyone reacts differently to new people and situations

Supporting Themes:
  1. being open to people or new situations, not viewing as risky or “bad”
  2. welcoming others outside your group; welcoming new friends
  3. working together as a team yields good results
  4. In Asia, Koreans and Chinese would not be excited about the arrival of Japanese warriors (due to history)
  5. practicing good etiquette – the importance of manners (the animals make a formal welcome in the end and bow – the ultimate form of respect)
Synopsis:

Purple Penguin announces the arrival of visitors (Samurai warriors) to Fujimini Island. He is so focused on throwing a big welcome he does not notice the others are not happy about the visitors. The animals make assumptions when they hear “warrior” and assume this is not good. They are determined to hang back and let others welcome them. They each react in their own way – lighting fireworks to ward off bad luck, making long noodles for long life, practicing taekwondo in case they need to defend themselves – no one is making a cake or preparing a warm welcome. But then the dolphin warns of trouble. There was a storm and now the raft with the warriors’ equipment is sinking. They forget their biases and rush to rescue the equipment. They work as as team to reinforce a raft to carry the equipment. The Samurai are surprised by this pack of animals rescuing them as they are the strong ones. Each side’s assumptions are rethought and they become friends and celebrate their arrival in the end.

The Samurai explain they have come to Fujimini Island for an important mission for the Emperor. The actual mission is played out in the Dynasty Dragon story. Orange Bunny’s excellent taekwondo skills are also highlighted. This is part of several stories and the foundation for a planned story, Orange Bunny and the Taekwondo Twist.

 

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Pink Hamster and the Big Birthday Surprise

Quick Synopsis:

Pink Hamster loves her birthday and everyone is pretending to forget this big day; they are also telling her there is no cake or celebration which hurts her feelings

Key Theme:

lies and not listening can lead to trouble; people want to feel special on their birthday

Supporting Themes:
  1. telling lies, even small ones, can lead to trouble
  2. assuming you know what’s best for another person does not always work out
  3. asking others to lie as well or play tricks can hurt someone feelings
  4. in Asia, respecting your elders is an important value and Green Hamster ignored Brown Hamster’s advice
  5. apologizing if you hurt someone’s feelings; owning your actions
Synopsis:

Pink Hamster loves all the pomp and circumstance of birthdays and her favorite food is birthday cake. She is so excited about her day until everyone pretends to forget. Brown Hamster warned them not to tell lies and to think about Pink Hamster’s wishes since it is her day. But Green Hamster is stubborn and does not listen. He lies to Pink Hamster and has Blue Bunny lie as well. This upsets Pink Hamster and she runs to the forest alone, which she is not supposed to do. Green Hamster feels very sorry – he just wanted to give her a birthday surprise. The bunnies create a wonderful cupcake path and the party is wonderful in the end.

At the end of the story, Pink and Green Hamster allude to a mission and he gives her night vision goggles for her birthday which will be in the next story The Dynasty Dragon. . Pink Hamster thinks she dreamt about him when in fact he is real and in the next story.

 

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Black Tortoise and the Dynasty Dragon

Quick Synopsis:

There is a battle ship in the bay and the samurai are keeping secrets. The animals assume the worst and there is almost a fight. Everyone wants to protect the Dynasty Dragon but they are not working as a team due to misconceptions.

Key Theme:

Giving others the benefit of the doubt and not assuming the worst

Supporting Themes:
  1. spying or listening in on someone’s conversation and then making an assumption can lead to bad results
  2. teamwork yields the best outcome
  3. deep friendships and loyalty; desire to protect
  4. a mother’s love is powerful and deep
Synopsis:

The rascally hamsters are back to spying and the samurai are acting mysterious. There is a “Turtle Boat” in the bay and the animals are curious. Orange Bunny (the takwondo bunny who is Korean in inspiration) warns Turtle Boats are famous attack boats. They want to join whatever mission the samurai are planning but the samurai are not forthcoming. The hamster misinterpret what the Black Tortoise Samurai says and this sets off a series of mishaps. The end up going to the forest to find the Dynasty Dragon to warn him he is going to be kidnapped and taken away. This is not true and the animals almost fight. In the end, the Dynasty Dragon is reunited with his mother and the animals rejoice.

In the story, the Rainbow Panda brings firecrackers to light to scare away the Turtle Boat. The Rainbow Panda and firecrackers are in the next story – Rainbow Panda and the Firecracker Fiasco.

 

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Rainbow Panda and the Firecracker Fiasco

Quick Synopsis:

The animals of Fujimini Island are preparing for the Lunar/Chinese New Year celebration. Rainbow Panda recently met a Dynasty Dragon in the Fu Fun Forest. He remembers back to when his uncle told him that every spring the hibernating dragon is woken up by firecrackers, then shifts (morphs  or transforms) into a cloud and waters the crops for spring.  He would love to be the panda that makes this all possible. So Rainbow Panda hatches a plan and convinces others to go along with him.

Key Theme:

Sometimes having fun involves following the rules. Usually rules are put in place for an important reason such as safety.

Supporting Themes:

1. playing with matches is a bad idea
2. don’t go along with a situation or plan if you know it’s not a good idea
3. friends help friends
4. there are consequences when rules are broken

Synopsis:

Today most of the pandas are preparing for the New Year’s celebration. They are sweeping and cleaning, planting flowers and writing wishes on ribbons. But Rainbow Panda really wants to be a hero and has an explosive plan. He will try to convince the adventurous hamsters to join him with his risky plan, which involves lighting matches. Pink Hamster goes along after objecting as Green Hamster assures her nothing could go wrong. When things go wrong, all of their friends are there to help and everything works out. But there are consequences for the smoky animals!

Rainbow Panda and the Firecracker Fiasco is the sixth book in the award-winning cross-cultural Fujimini Adventure series, which invites readers to explore Fujimini Island with a cast of memorable characters who embark on unexpected and hilarious adventures.

 

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Blue Penguin and the Sensational Surf

Quick Synopsis:

Today the Fujimini Island Surf School is opening. All the animals are excited to learn to surf. The surf conditions are excellent as Blue Penguin takes his first students out. The waves are awesome and Blue Penguin can’t resist the urge to leave his students for a quick minute and show everyone some of his best moves. Leaving the students alone in the water was not the best decision. Because of quick thinking and team work, the friends devise a plan to rescue their friend.

Key Theme:

If you take on a leadership position amongst playmates or in a team don’t walk away from your responsibilities because trouble might happen.

Supporting Themes:

1. working together to help a friend
2. taking ownership of a mistake
3. if you are too rough then people will not want to play with you
4. try new things

Synopsis:

As the Fujimini Island Surf Shop is opening every penguin has a job. One is in charge of teaching the class, another serving refreshments and so on. Team members all have to do their jobs to have a successful outcome. Some of the animals are excited to try something new – surfing. This is an example for children – put yourself into a new situation but with guidance or a teacher. The teacher leaves his role to show off his moves, not knowing there is a mischievous water creature in the ocean. The water creature grabs one of the students and pulls her underwater. Everyone works together to make a plan to rescue her. The whale ends up a hero. The “show off” is sorry. The water creature is politely asked to leave. Children should understand if they don’t play nicely, others wont want to play with them.

Even though she got pulled underwater, the Silver Bunny wants to try surfing again. If something doesn’t work out as planned, don’t give up.

 

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