A mother panda and her cub endure the danger and confusion of an earthquake.
BookList Online-April 2010
In 2008, an earthquake in northern China destroyed the Wolong Panda Reserve. Inspired by this devastating, real-life event, this picture book tells the story of a mother panda and her cub that are shaken from the trees in a nature reserve when an earthquake hits. Frightened but unharmed, the animals flee across a paved road and into a neighboring forest, “farther and farther away from their home.” After surviving on roots and stream water, mother and child are rescued by wildlife workers, who sedate the pair with darts that deliver “medicine to put both giant pandas to sleep” and return them to their protected home at the reserve. The human figures in the softly textured pastel illustrations have a somewhat stilted quality, but children will easily connect with the animals’ fear and relief, conveyed in their expressive faces. Concluding spreads offer curriculum links with facts and activities focused on both giant pandas and earthquakes. Pair this with Sandra Markle’s Finding Home (2008) for another conservation story about how humans can help animals displaced by natural disaster.
Books For Learning-May 2012
Pandas' Earthquake Escape depicts how wild life is impacted by natural disasters. Even in the midst of the confusion, though, the mother is quick to protect her young. Animals have amazing survival instincts and resilient spirits. This book reminds us how the panda’s habitat and food supply are endangered. As a result, there are reserves (like the one shown in this book) that help protect them, so they may continue to thrive and multiply. The story, though fictional, is believable and appealing. Artist Susan Detwiller has created striking illustrations with texture and depth. The pandas’ features and emotions are captured brilliantly. Their habitat is vivid and realistic. I recommend this book for ages 4 and up.