The Panda Problem


I’ve been following Deborah Underwood’s writing career ever since mine began. I met her when she was an instructor at my first writing workshop at Highlights. Her books are creative, witty and have high re-readability. The Panda Problem, illustrated by Hannah Marks (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2019) is no exception.

In The Panda Problem, Panda meets the narrator who is frustrated that it cannot find a problem for Panda. Stories need problems; main characters need problems to solve. So Panda reverses the roles and declares the narrator to be the main character with a Panda problem. Pure silliness ensues until Panda finds himself in a real mess. Finally, he has a problem the narrator can work with.

The Panda Problem is pure fun to read with a twist ending that I love. Young readers will likely be giggling as they read, and learning a little about story elements in the process. Maybe you should have paper and pencil ready, just in case, because after I reread it a few times, I wanted to write a story. And I am already looking forward to Deborah’s next releases. Yes, that’s plural. Not only is Deborah creative and witty, she’s also very productive!

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