Series: Fujimini Island Adventure #6
Format read: eGalley
Source: The publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: March 1, 2013
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Blurb from goodreads:
It’s the eve of the Asian New Year and all the animals are getting ready for the big occasion. They are sweeping, cleaning, planting flowers, writing on ribbons, and preparing food. Rainbow Panda looks forward to the fireworks display but wants to create his own fireworks show. He sets a plan in motion and tries to get Green and Pink Hamster to join him.
The animals know that they are not to play with matches or firecrackers, but nonetheless, continue with their plan. When Rainbow Panda starts to light matches in the woods, he sets the forest on fire and many animals must come to help put out the fire. The Dynasty Dragon’s mom comes and turns into a cloud that rains and puts out the fire. Rainbow Panda, Dynasty Dragon, and both Green and Pink Hamster are given activities to clean up after the fire. They also volunteer to do a beach clean up to show everyone that they are sorry for the fiasco they set in motion.
"Rainbow Panda and the Firecracker Fiasco" is a morals story and while it doesn't hit the reader over the head to make a point, neither is it subtle. It is more subtle imparting information about the Asian New Year and the mythology surrounding Asian dragons, which are different from European dragons (dragons play a part in the story). The writing wasn't great, it was a little pedantic, and the story was overly long for what it was trying to say. It was predictable for adults, moderately interesting for children.
Actually, only half the book is the story; the latter half is an excellent glossary of terms used in the story, and placing them where they belong in different Asian cultures. I learned some things from the glossary and found it more interesting than the story itself. The island where this story and series are set, Fujimini Island, is fictional and is a blend of Korean, Chinese and Japanese customs. The writing was more relaxed and I found it more enjoyable. If I were to use this book in my classroom, I would greatly edit and condense the story and focus on the glossary. The kids would appreciate the artwork and the cheerful, completely unrealistic colors of the animals.