We have absolutely fallen in love with Steve Antony‘s Please Mr. Panda.
The week before Little Miss’ second birthday, my mum and I walked passed Waterstones and saw it in the window. The cute cover caught our eye immediately and my mum was so taken with it she decided Little Miss simply had to have it for her birthday. (At this point, we had no idea what the story was or even what age it was aimed at. She can be a tad impulsive…)
Since then, we have learned that Mr. Panda is really rather grumpy. And he doesn’t like donuts. But he also doesn’t seem to want to give anyone else any donuts either. All that is accept a particular little lemur…
The illustrations are simple but so lovely. The first time I read Please Mr Panda, I’ll be honest, I was wondering where this story was going as Mr. Panda offers everyone a donut, then denies them said donut… But all becomes clear and It turns out it’s actually a really original way to encourage little ones to use their manners.
Steve Antony has also chosen an unusual array of animals to don the pages of his donut tale, meaning Little Miss has now learned the slightly less standard words for a toddler’s vocabulary, ‘ostrich,’ ‘lemur,’ and ‘skunk’.
Being lactose intolerant, before reading this story, she had never tried a donut. But in a strange twist of fate, we ended up having jammy donuts on her birthday instead of a cake and ever since and she is most definitely a fan.
She now randomly appears at your side with a big toothy grin like a certain little lemur and in a deliberately funny voice says, “Hello. I will have a doh-nut.” (Because apparently she can’t just say ‘donut’…?)
To which I politely reply that Mr. Panda would not approve of her manners. And she replies, “Pleeeeeeeeeease doh-nut.”
Which I’m not sure if she’s calling me a donut here, or if at only just two she’s simply not quite mastered syntax fully…
You can find a whole host of extra Mr. Panda activities on Steve Antony’s website from donut colouring in sheets to designing a donut factory.