Book Review of Ping Meets Pang
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The Children’s Book Review
Written and Illustrated by Mary Jane Begin
Ages 3-8 | 36 Pages
Publisher: Wyatt-MacKenzie | ISBN-13: 9781948018876
What to Expect: Difference, inclusivity, friendship, diversity.
Are pandas black and white or black and red? Do pandas have short, stumpy tails or long fluffy tails? Are pandas big or small? You’d think these questions would be easy to answer—especially if you happen to be a panda! But when Pang the giant panda meets Ping the red panda, they discover these questions are not so easy to answer after all! Neither seems to have anything in common with the other. How can two pandas be so different, and which one is the “real” panda?
As the story unfolds, the two friends realize that their similarities are much more important than their differences. Using an engaging combination of repetition and mirrored imagery, Ping Meets Pang beautifully illustrates the superficiality of differences between individuals and the arbitrary nature of categorization.
The story is humorous enough for the youngest of readers, while still getting to the heart of the questions that lie beneath the current tensions in Western society surrounding race, difference, and diversity. Intended as an educational tool as well as a fun story, the book includes challenging conversation starters for parents and teachers to help young readers draw their own conclusions about the answers to these questions.
Begin’s illustrations are expressive and lively, conveying the pandas’ emotions as clearly as their physiological characteristics.
Overall, Ping Meets Pang is a great story for opening conversations about inclusivity.
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About the Author-Illustrator
Mary Jane Begin is an award-winning illustrator and author of numerous children’s books, and professor in the Illustration Department at Rhode Island School of Design. She’s also the Chair of Illustration in the M.F.A for Children’s Literature at Hollins University. Her previous books include A MOUSE TOLD HIS MOTHER (Little Brown 25,000 HC, 131,00 PB), LITTLE MOUSE’S PAINTING (Morrow/Sea Star 120,100 HC, 21,000 PB).
Mary Jane recently won the prestigious Big Xin Children’s Literature Award in China for her book, Willow Buds: The Tale of Toad and Badger. She has received awards from the Society of Illustrators, Awards of Excellence from Communications Arts, and the Critici Erba Prize at the Bologna Book Fair as well as the Erma Simonton Black Award from the Bank Street College.
Read our exclusive interview: Mary Jane Begin Discusses Ping Meets Pang.
For more information, visit https://illustration.maryjanebegin.com/.
Dedicated Reviews allow authors and illustrators to gain prompt visibility for their work. This is a sponsored, non-biased review of Ping Meets Pang, by Mary Jane Begin. Learn more about getting a book review …
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