In the fourth book in a series, Nadia Mei, a six-foot-tall white panda, travels throughout China with her leopard companion, Claw, searching for “Dream Land.”
As the story begins, Nadia Mei and Claw encounter poachers who shoot Nadia Mei in the leg when she uses her body to shield her friend. Wounded and bleeding, she is captured and placed inside a cage on a truck.
When the truck becomes submerged in a river, Selah the owl sees Nadia Mei and offers assistance by unlocking the cage door and releasing the wounded panda. After attending to the panda’s injuries, Selah flies back to the river searching for other animals. She finds Claw, and eventually all three embark on the journey together.
Readers of Nadia Mei’s Deadly Encounter with the Poachers may be puzzled if they haven’t read earlier books in the series. The author never clearly states the crucial point that Nadia Mei has an existing handicap (a crippled right hind leg) before the shooting incident. Likewise, the panda’s search for “Dream Land” (also written as “Dream land” and “dream land”) remains unexplained. A map in the beginning of the book shows where Dream Land is located, but neglects to say why Nadia Mei insists on going there.
Additional errors, such as inconsistencies with tenses, capitalization, reading level, and artwork, repetition of words (“immediately”) and phrases (“run as quickly as possible,” “run as fast as you can,” “ran as fast as he could”), and awkward sentences (“It has been three scorching hot full days in the middle of summer that both Nadia Mei and Claw had been traveling…”) detract from the story. Two factual mistakes – owls have talons and feathers, not claws and fur – also may confuse young children. Although new readers will likely be disappointed in this book, disabled children already familiar with the series may enjoy this latest installment.
Also available as an ebook.