Please Mr Panda Story Time Idea - A fun class discussion, then decorate a doughnut or solve a maze!
I find that the most fun and effective way to read Please Mr Panda is by turning the book into a guessing game. Allow me to explain.
Mr Panda is essentially testing the animals to see if they know the magic word. He's testing the reader too, which is why he doesn't explain his actions in the book. Despite the book's title, some children (and adults!) don't 'get' the book until the very end, and this allows you, the teacher or librarian, the opportunity to ask your pupils questions throughout the story. And, believe it or not, this can turn a short read into a fun discussion about manners.
This is how I approach the story.
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."
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."
But this, in itself, could potentially spark a fun conversation.
And, just for fun, I throw in a fun activity. Below are some links to a 'Decorate a Doughnut' template and a maze.
For more fun lesson ideas, press HERE.
And here's one made earlier!