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*Tracks of a Panda (Read & Wonder)* by Nick Dowson, illustrated by Yu Rong
Tracks of a Panda (Read & Wonder)
by Nick Dowson, illustrated by Yu Rong
Ages 4-8 32 pages Candlewick July 2007 Hardcover    

Tracks of a Panda is a touching tale of a mother panda and her little baby. Readers will enjoy learning about the birth and physical growth of the baby panda and will be emotionally moved when the loving pair is forced to move on due to human activity in their habitat.

Tracks of a Panda is a wonderful choice for biology or earth science classes learning about the lifecycle of giant pandas. The book shows the battle between managing man's need of resources and the health of the environment, which can be useful for classroom content. Facts and notes throughout the book provide extra information on the life of the panda. With its simple index, this reinforced trade hardcover childrenís book is a sound choice for multiple readings and group projects.

Illustrator Yu Rong used watercolor techniques to create the whimsical but peaceful Eastern-flavored art. I found myself pausing several times simply to take in the beautiful nature scenes and touching bonding moments between the baby panda and his mother.

Author Nick Dawson lives in England, where he teaches English and drama. Tracks of a Panda is published by Candlewick Press and printed in Singapore. Despite the fact that I could find no information on the environmentally sustainable printing options of this book, I could not find it within myself to reduce the rating.

There are several aspects of Tracks of a Panda that appeal to me. First, it is an environmental book in that it covers balancing manís desire for resources and the needs of wildlife. Second, the book provided an appealing and accurate overview of a pandaís lifecycle and habitat requirements in a friendly manner. I also found peace and comfort in the art and would recommend the book on this alone. This is an exceptional choice for parents, caregivers, teachers and grandparents to have on hand for children.

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  Lillian Brummet/2008 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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