This blog is intended for people who have already read Please Mr Panda, so here's a big SPOILER ALERT!
Aside from being a sneaky lesson in manners, 'Please Mr Panda' is a guessing game. Why does Mr Panda appear to be teasing the animals by retracting his offer of colourful doughnuts? Hint: THE CLUE IS IN THE TITLE.
Mr Panda steps into the book and asks Penguin, "Would you like a doughnut?" Penguin responds, "Give me the pink one."
At events, before I reveal whether or not Penguin (Skunk or Whale) receive a tasty treat from Mr Panda, I ask the audience to raise their hands if they think the animal WILL get a doughnut. Then I ask them to raise their hands if they think the animal will NOT get a doughnut.
The following page prompts my next question: "Why didn't Mr Panda give Penguin (Skunk or Whale) a doughnut?" This elicits all sorts of creative responses.
It is because he wants them all for himself.
It is because he wants some alone time.
It is because the skunk smells.
It is because he is very, very hungry.
And at least one child will say something along the lines of, "It is because Penguin was not polite."
We carry on witnessing and questioning Mr Panda's retractions until we reach a page where Mr Panda asks the reader, "Would anyone else like a doughnut?" At events, this is always met with a resounding "Yes, please!" from the audience. By now, most of them have figured it out.
Then Lemur pops into the book upside-down and asks Mr Panda very politely, "May I have a doughnut, Please Mr Panda?"
"Raise your hand if you think Lemur will get a donut.", I ask the audience. Almost everyone raises their hand.
Lemur doesn't just get a doughnut. He gets all of the doughnuts.
"Thank you very much. I love doughnuts." he gleefully announces.
At this final point of the story, I ask the audience why Lemur was rewarded. Almost every hand is raised.
"It is because Lemur said..." and the audience finish my sentence with a big smiley "PLEASE!"
I won't give away Mr Panda's final statement of the book, or as Times reviewer, Alex O'Connell, puts it, "the jam in the middle of the doughnut."
This, in itself, could potentially spark a fun conversation.
Like most people, I say please, thank you, and hold open a door if someone's behind me. But, like most people, I sometimes forget. I know someone who gets so irked when a driver doesn't thank her for giving way that she'll sometimes beep the horn and raise her hand as if to say, "This is how to say thank you! Just raise your hand. It's as easy as this!" at which point I sink into the passenger seat and look at my phone. But hey, nobody's perfect. We don't all always remember our P's & Q's. Just remember to say please if you'd like a doughnut from Mr Panda.
You might like to hold a creative workshop after reading the book. There are so many things you can do. Here are some suggestions. Thank you to The Crafty Book for pointing out the bottom three.
- You can decorate your very own doughnut by downloading a colouring page HERE.
- You can download a maze to try and help Lemur make his way to the doughnuts. You can download the maze HERE.
- Activity Village has a Paper Plate Panda craft, and they also provide links to other panda themed crafts on the website.
- Cindy deRosier has a Torn Paper Panda craft on her blog.
- My Poppet shows you how to make a Doughnut Garland.
A teacher tweeted me this very fancy doughnut design.
It has been great to see all of the tweets, Instagram posts, blog posts and reviews about Mr Panda. The book's been out for a little over two months, and in that time it's been Barnes & Noble Picture Book of the Month, The Times Children's Book of the Week, and a high school in the States voted it Book of 2014.
And I've seen some awesome displays, too!
I regularly receive tweets from schools and parents about Please Mr Panda. Here are a few recent ones.
I'll finish this post by adding that, if doughnuts really aren't your thing, you can always have a banana instead.
I'll post Lesson Tips for 'Betty Goes Bananas' and 'The Queen's Hat' soon.