Camp Panda by Catherine Thimmesh | SLJ Review

Gr 5-7 –Many have seen videos of humans in panda suits tending to the needs of smaller, actual pandas, and they may have asked, why are they dressed that way?

redstarTHIMMESH, Catherine. Camp Panda: Helping Cubs Return to the Wild. 64p. filmog. glossary. index. notes. photos. websites. HMH. Apr. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544818910.

Gr 5-7 –Many have seen videos of humans in panda suits tending to the needs of smaller, actual pandas, and they may have asked, why are they dressed that way? Thimmesh’s new book answers that and more as she delves in the conservation efforts of various groups in China, including the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, also known as Camp Panda. The Sibert Medal–winning author begins with an overview of pandas and explains why they are at risk of becoming extinct. Readers learn that just as humans have played an important role in endangering the species, they’re playing a significant role in helping to protect the panda and other animals, too. The costumes, by the way, help to limit a young panda’s exposure to humans so that the animal will more easily adapt to the wild and be wary of people, which is key to their survival. The text is well written with age-appropriate vocabulary, though quotes set in italics are a bit jarring. Every spread includes at least one full-color photo, and the eye-catching panda photos are primarily from the conservation groups. The back matter includes a page inviting readers to learn more about and to take part in conservation efforts. VERDICT Animal conservation is always a welcome subject in libraries, and the depth and breadth of this book make it a first purchase.–Marie Drucker, Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library, NY This review was published in the School Library Journal May 2018 issue.

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