Please Mr Panda by Steve Antony, published by Hodder Children’s Books

In recent weeks, one of our toddler’s favourite phrases has been: “That’s good manners!”

She takes great delight in saying “good manners” as a follow up to her uses of “yes please”, “no thank you” and “it’s nice to share”.

However, she says it with particular gusto halfway through Please Mr Panda. It is the page where, after Mr Panda has shunned an array of rude doughnut-demanders who neglect to say the ‘magic word’, a polite lemur who says “may I” and “please” (very good manners) is given the whole tray.

It takes a little while to get to this part of the book, as she likes to first try to pick the doughnuts from the page, ‘eating’ them one by one, and describing how delicious they are. “I want a doughnut when I grow up like that big bear” she said tonight.

Steve Antony’s illustrations are bold, beautiful and funny. The doughnuts are a colourful feast for the eyes, in a clever contrast to the black and white of the characters that the panda encounters. As the story unfolds, the animals (and their levels of rudeness) increase in size, from a penguin to skunk to ostrich to whale), before concluding with the polite, well-mannered (and very full) lemur.

With thanks to Steve Antony for allowing the use of his cover image with this review.