Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Xander’s Panda Party

Park, Linda Sue (Author)
Phelan, Matt (Illustrator)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2013. 40 pages
First published: 2013
ISBN: 9780547558653 (hardcover)
9781328740588 (paperback)
9780547834429 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, figurative language

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Light-hearted and rhythmic language pokes gentle fun at ponderous Xander, as he encounters repeated hitches in his party plans. “Xander felt a little blue. He chewed a bamboo stalk or two. He fidgeted and paced the floor, then scratched an itch and paced some more.”

Absolutely stylish and sweet illustrations recall Chinese brush painting effects. In one monochrome sequence, the tubby panda twists and turns with befuddlement. Dry-brush strokes create whirling movement, before Xander finally drops to the floor. (“Was his party falling through?”) Another spread shows full-colour spot images: Xander on the elephant’s trunk; reaching high with an invite for the giraffe; spearing another invite on the horn of the goat, and more.

As Xander’s guest list grows, the topics of friendship and community are explored. Amanda Salamander helps Xander; a new arrival, panda Zhu Zi, is made to feel welcome. An author’s note discusses inspiration for the story and offers background information on species depicted in the book.

  •  

    Discuss what you know about bears. What kinds are there? Are their habitats and eating habits all the same?

  •  

    The author uses figurative language such as alliteration: “Xander’s party preparations took great pains and perspiration.” Find other instances of alliteration and talk about how it is used. Try your hand at writing with alliteration.

  •  

    Xander ends up on the horns of a dilemma as he plans a panda party. Synthesize the author’s message that Xander develops as he “changed his plans and point of view.”

  •  

    Explore the book cover. In small teams, brainstorm the words related to a party. Create a party-related vocabulary anchor chart for the class.

  •  

    Go for a picture walk and discuss the illustrations and the various animals presented. Make predictions, then adjust those predictions as the story is read aloud.

  •  

    As different animals react to his invitation, Panda stops, thinks, reflects and then rewrites it. Discuss how these are important strategies in the writing process. How and when do you use these strategies?

  •  

    Use the information from the book to develop a mind map of animal classification. Add examples of animals you know in each category.

  • To use creativity
  • To use information
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Ethics and Religious Culture
  • Science and Technology