Reviews & Awards
Another Stellar Review for Rainbow Panda! Rainbow Panda is “well written, colorfully and beautifully illustrated, charming, and educational”
REVIEW~ RAINBOW PANDA AND THE FIRECRACKER FIASCO by Eileen Wacker.. by Ian Wood
RAINBOW PANDA AND THE FIRECRACKER FIASCO
Genre: Children’s books (ages 6-9 years)
Series: Fujimini Adventures Series #6
Source: Received for an honest review from the author.
Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Once Kids, LLC (March 1, 2013)
Publication Date: February 7, 2013
Here’s the shortest review I will probably ever write! Don’t worry, it’s a good one. Mine is not a children’s book blog, but it is a book blog and there are some kid’s stories, even at my age, which resonate. My kids are too old for this story to entertain them, but I know that when they were younger they would have loved an exotic story like this if they’d had access to it.
Rainbow Panda and the Firecracker Fiasco is part of the Fujimini Island series, and is about a panda who wants to light some firecrackers, and who predictably makes a mess of it. Some of his forest friends (an improbable assortment of multi-hued dragons, hamsters, penguins, dolphins, and rabbits) help out. I have some qualms about anthropomorphizing animals and coloring them unnaturally, but in a book for the age range this is aimed towards, it does no harm. Overall the story is well written, colorfully and beautifully illustrated, charming, and educational in a non-preaching manner.
The book is 75 pages, but the story is only half of that. The latter half is a useful glossary of some aspects of Asian culture, which is where the Rainbow Panda stories have their roots. It talks briefly about bonsai (not banzai!), and sushi (which my kids love), as well as other foods, and Asian traditions, so it could definitely educate both child and parent. I particularly liked the section on chopsticks, having just seen The Wolverine where chopsticks are mentioned (it’s “bad luck” to stick them upright in your food because then they are reminiscent of incense sticks which are burned at funerals!).
This brings me to one issue I did have with this story which is where it mentions performing certain ritualistic acts to bring luck. We all know that’s nonsense (at least I hope we do!). I think it would be more useful to teach children that they make their own “luck”, and that while some ritual does have disciplinary value, it isn’t a very practical method of living your life to rely on luck or talismans. But that’s a very minor qualm when set in the larger context of a really useful, educational, and entertaining children’s story.
Having read this story, I have no problem recommending it and looking favorably on this series. Anything we can do to promote smart-thinking and safety amongst children is to be encouraged.
REVIEWED BY: Ian Wood, Ian Wood’s Novellum