get ready for a fun and noisy chain reaction of calamities!

When visiting the zoo, whatever you do, DON’T WAKE THE PANDA!

PANŸDAŸMOŸNIA (noun informal) - Complete and utter chaos, often following the disturbance of a blissfully sleeping panda.

When I was in my early 20’s I was privileged to teach English in China, an amazing experience filled with people, culture and experiences. And I got to visit the Beijing Zoo.

I had no real interest in the zoo itself, but I’d always wanted to see a panda. So in 42-degree heat and what felt like 110% humidity I made my way across Beijing. And … it was rather disappointing. The panda WAS cute, but it did nothing except sleep in a barely visible corner (probably due to the heat, now that I think about it).

As underwhelming as that visit was to me, it seems that it was a good thing that we DIDN’T wake that panda!

Pandamonia is a fun (and noisy) book about the chain reaction of calamities that are set off at the zoo when you wake the Panda:

‘So you’re here at the zoo on this glorious day.
You’re sure to have fun – it’s a great place to play.
Come through. Look around. Relax and explore.
Inside you will find there are creatures galore.
You’ll have a magnificent time at the zoo…
… just don’t wake the panda whatever you do.’

Turns out, if you wake the panda, the hippos get grumpy, the termites get tickly and the echidnas get prickly. This in turn sets of a whole lot of giggling, swaying, jiggling, chit-chatting, quacking and yacking (just to name a few).

This is a fast paced rhyming book with just the right amount of ridiculous + a whole lot of fun. It can open up a whole bunch of conversation starters that are great for speculation and complex reasoning:

Questions—could a panda really cause a riot?
Concepts—chain reactions, do our actions effect others?
Conversations—what COULD happen vs. what is LIKELY to happen

It’s also a fun speculation-game starter—what would happen if you scared a snake?—it can get a bit out of hand but great for a laugh. The kids love it and so do I.


by Chris Owen illustrated by Chris Nixon – Fremantle Press, 2016
ages 3 to 8 years