book review

How do Pandas Eat With 3-Foot Chopsticks? A Chinese Happy New Year with Demi

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Happy Lunar New Year. This week we’re celebrating Chinese New Year. Usually this means we go to our friends The Deng’s House and have an enormous feast and fireworks. This year however the Dengs are actually home in China, celebrating with their family and friends in Beijing. We want to wish all of you a very Happy Chinese New Year.

Today we are celebrating Chinese New Year with a wonderful new book, The Pandas and Their ChopsticThe Pandas and their Chopsticksks by author/illustrator Demi.

Demi has put together a collection of 10 wonderful animal fables from China. Beautifully and cleverly illustrated and simply told, these tales will become an easy reach when searching for something quick to read with the family which holds great substance.  Demi adapted these whimsical animal stories from traditional Asian folktales, these lighthearted stories have a universal appeal and will provide valuable lessons for little hearts and mins to absorb.

After reading this book, my son asked me if we are a “fabalistic” family ? Meaning; do we believe in fables and do we find them to be true ? He was so curious he even made up his own word.

Discover inside the pages of this engaging collection of fables how panda learns the importance of sharing, how turtle discovers the danger of being proud, and how everyone, including tiny hummingbird, has their part to play in life.

This is Aesop Fables meet China at its absolute best. Don’t miss this one. It’s a Great Read !!!

Something To Do

Working with fables enables children to:

Build Literacy. The short and precise structure and language of fables have a wonderful effect on young readers and writers. Children learn to recognize predictable patterns in the structure of the fables as well as being able to apply this to their own writing.

Build Ethical and Moral Development.  Working with fables lets children feel comfortable exploring and reflecting on their own values as well as developing critical thinking skills about ethical issues.

Build Discussion Skills. Through discussion and debate, children learn to listen to each other and express their own opinions about ethical behavior. They can discuss real-life issues using fables as a tool as well as discussing  how certain behaviors and outcomes can impact family and school communities at large.

Develop an Understanding of Metaphor. Fables promote higher levels of thinking as children develop their skills at interpreting the meaning of the fable, making inferences and judgments, and creating alternative solutions to problems. Children are challenged to take a specific set of actions which relate to a certain moral outcome.

Translate Ethical Issues into Real Life. Children while reading fables, develop critical thinking skills as they reflect about the events in the stories and how to apply the proverbs to a variety of real world events happening in their lives, communities, or the world at large.

Here are a couple of ideas on how to bring these wonderful fables to life. I’m working on a full cross curriculum adventure kits for The Pandas and their Chopsticks I’ll share with you very soon.

Story Theater

Read the Fable Aloud.

Invite your children to act out the fable you’ve just read to them. Here’s how:

  • Form a circle. The center of the circle becomes the stage.
  • Neither the actor nor the audience may touch one another.
  • When the narrator or actor is speaking the audience meaning the other circle members are listening.
  • Choose a narrator and the necessary amount of actors for the fable. The narrator tells the story in their own words as the actors act out the story. If in the fable the characters have lines to speak the actors speak those lines or words.


On a piece of paper give an example from your own life that describes the moral from the fable.


After writing your own life example go ahead and draw it as well.

Fables are a wonderful tool to teach children about ethics and morals as well as deepen their critical thinking and language skills.

I wish all of you a wonderful Lunar New Year !!! The most common Chinese ways of saying Happy New Year are Gong Xi Fa Cai (Mandarin) and Gong Hey Fat Choy (Cantonese). Even though the pronunciations are a little different, both are written the same way.


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