Unable to sleep, Little Panda is afraid of the noises and the dark outside. Well, we’ve heard that one before, I hear you say, but this is a subject that needs readdressing with each new generation. And what are books for the very young but fresh new ways of looking at familiar matters? Fortunately, Durant manages to expand a well-worn theme with some creative ideas.
Daddy takes Little Panda outside to the scary woods and shows his offspring that things are just as pleasant in the dark as the daylight. Using a comfortably concrete series of natural finds from the forest, he fashions a leaf mobile and a bamboo flute with which he soothes the little bear to sleep. Durant’s language is simple, with some very well chosen words which bring the reader right into Panda’s world, ‘They ate the sweet crunchy bamboo shoots’ and ‘snug and safe in his soft bamboo bed, lulled by the soothing lullaby of the forest, Little Panda fell asleep’.
Abbot’s rich, painterly technique and bold, vibrant colours make this a joyful book. The characters are drawn in a simple childlike fashion, making them altogether winsome and adorable. This is a good, solid bedtime read, which both parents and children will return to again and again.