Make My Life Easier: Please, Mr. Panda

Please, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony

The magic of the right book at the right time!

Today we went to the library and Levi pulled Please, Mr. Panda off the shelf. He asked me to read it to him and as I did Benjamin and Jubilee drifted over, interested. I was immediately required to read it a second time. Later this afternoon, they were using "please" more frequently and with less hassle. And that makes this book a winner!

In it, Mr. Panda asks various animals if they would like a doughnut. Each of them demands a different color and each is met with the same reply, "No, you cannot have a doughnut. I have changed my mind."

This book definitely reminded me of I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen.

  1. The large, textured illustrations with bold lines, 
  2. the cast of various animals, 
  3. the rather disinterested look in Mr. Panda's eyes throughout, 
  4. and the repeated text. 

These two books are birds of a feather. Ashley wrote the Everead review of Klassen's award winner, and Ashley you're going to love this one.

I don't even remember now what Levi asked me for, after lunch, but I recognized myself about to begin our usual script, "If you want that, you need to ask with a 'please.'" But I caught myself just in time and said, "No, I have changed my mind." After a moment of confusion, he caught on and grinned as he changed his ask.

It was so fun! It was fun because it was different than usual. It was fun because it was a step up from where we had been -- instead of spelling out for him what he needed to do, I let him figure it out. And it was fun because he had picked the book and he had loved it and now he was living it. It wasn't long before I had the chance to use our new code-phrase with Benjamin.

It's not that I haven't tried to take this little leap before, I have. But it seemed like any time I would try to move us from our old script, the boys would end up frustrated and I would, too. But with the shared experience of having read Please, Mr. Panda under our belts, we were all on the same page.

A book that helps me be a happier parent, 
give my child more responsibility, 
and speak more politely?
Yes, Please!

I'll include an affiliate link for it here, in case your own library doesn't have it, or in case you'd like to give it as a gift or you just know already that you need to own this one. If you shop through my affiliate links, I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. So here's one for Amazon and one for Barnes and Noble.


Speaking of books that make my life as a parent easier, here are some others I have written about:
Backtalk: Four Steps to Ending Rude Behavior in Your Kids,
Practical Wisdom for Parents: Demystifying the Preschool Years,
Cinnamon Baby
and then I wrote about How to Visit the Library with Kids.

18 Classics to Read with Kids

Today's question comes from Debra:
"Have you ever done a post about your favorite classics for kids? I have been thinking about starting some classics with Kolt over the summer but all the ones I can think of off the top of my head are either way too heavy, or I don't think he would really be into them. "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" is not really up his alley for example." 

Well, I'm glad you asked! Because it gives me a great excuse to list my favorite classics of children's literature. For those who don't know, Kolt is a nine year old boy, and a very strong reader. I'm making this book list with him in mind. I'm going to stick affiliate links in here, in the form of cover images, just in case you are interested in any of these but can't find them at your local library.

Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White -- As I've been thinking about this list, I keep thinking about The Trumpet of the Swan. I know that Charlotte's Web is the most talked-about of E.B. White's books, but The Trumpet of the Swan has a special place in my heart from my childhood. It follows a swan who can't make a trumpeting noise, so he learns to play the trumpet. What he has to sacrifice in order to communicate and what he is able to do . . . it's just a book I'm never going to forget. Great one to read together and discuss.

The BFG by Roald Dahl -- This is my personal favorite of Dahl's books, and I'm sure you're aware of Dahl as and author, but I just had to list this one. Gotta love it when a little girl makes friends with a misfit giant.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster -- I honestly don't remember that much about this one except that I loved it! It is a very clever book, and just the sort of thing that a strong reader is going to like -- full of wordplay and complex ideas but completely devoid of questionable content. A boy takes a journey into a strange land.

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