In this creative but frenetic tale, a young panda rides in a hot air balloon, celebrates Chinese New Year, and rescues a mermaid princess’s necklace, among other adventures.
Panda’s Rule: The Unusual Dream tells the story of Anne, an anthropomorphic panda. The book opens with Anne anticipating her birthday. When the big day arrives, she receives fabulous presents, including a tiara and a boat, and spends the afternoon at the beach with her best friend.
There, Anne finds a beautiful necklace. Over the next few days, she experiences other very loosely connected adventures, including a hot air balloon ride for her brother’s birthday and winning a treasure chest by acing her gymnastics test.
Meanwhile, Anne is having strange dreams that eventually compel her to return to the beach where she discovered the necklace. There, a mermaid explains that she lost the necklace and needs it to become queen. Anne returns the necklace and receives a beautiful pearl in gratitude—which she donates to the local museum, making her a local star.
Something unexpected happens on each page of Panda’s Rule, and every story seems more extravagant than the last. The resulting narrative is perhaps charming for its many surprises but extremely frustrating to follow due to the many unconnected twists. This is exacerbated by spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors and odd word usage (“When we reached our bamboo garden, I paced straight to my relaxing bed”; “I was clearly capable to see that it didn’t sink, but landed.”) In addition, its length, formal diction, and vocabulary (for example, “instantaneously,” “greased lightning,” and “beneficent”) will be problematic for young readers.
Finally, Anne’s wonderful family, doting friends, and fabulous wealth make her difficult to relate to and her incredible experiences too easily won.
Panda’s Rule will make young readers think outside of the box when it comes to story structure and content, but its scattered content and odd diction will prove challenging for early readers.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.