By: Eileen Wacker
Illustrated by: Alan M. Low
Publisher: Once Kids, LLC
Publication Date: March 2013
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: March 28, 2013
Rainbow Panda is soooooo excited! Tomorrow is the start of the New Year Celebration and there are so many fun things to do in preparation. He has also been told that firecrackers used during the celebration will wake dragons, “who then fly across the sky and water crops.” Wow, how neat is that???!!!
As a typical curious, fun-loving youngster, just getting ready for the celebration isn’t enough for Rainbow Panda. He has come up with a plan that will make him a hero. Because he knows where the dragons live on the island, he will go to them and throw firecrackers under their feet. They’ll jump up in a fright, and fly across the sky. No doubt Rainbow Panda will be a hero.
Although Rainbow Panda has been told NOT to play with firecrackers, he continues with his plan. He enlists the help of Green Hamster and Pink Hamster, who convince Rainbow Panda that it’s not nice to throw fireworks at others. They agree that they’ll just light the firecrackers and then off they go, to the forest to find Dynasty Dragon. When the group finds the dragon, the little firebreather has some serious reservations about playing with fireworks too. After a brief discussion, Rainbow Panda volunteers to light the fireworks because he is “an expert.” What could possibly go wrong?
Parents will know immediately what can, and will, go wrong as Rainbow Panda proceeds with his plan. Young readers may guess, too, that mayhem is about to break out as matches are lit and dropped to the ground. It is an excellent lesson on why you should always listen to your parents when they caution against doing certain things. Rainbow Panda also provides a wonderful look at a different culture, with different customs (why orange juice and a pear is given to each participant at the New Year Celebration, for example). There are also seven pages at the back of the book with explanations on various references made in the story, from long noodles to drinking tea.
Quill says: A cute story, with a happy ending, that teaches lessons in obeying elders as well as instilling an understanding for the beauty and wonder of Asian culture.