cover image Dinner Panda Palace

Dinner Panda Palace

Stephanie Calmenson, S. Calmenson. HarperCollins, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-021010-6

When it's supper time at the Panda Palace, the hospitable Mr. Panda welcomes an array of amiable--and ravenous--animals to his restaurant. ``An elephant came first / With a trunk that was gray. / He'd been out on the road/ selling peanuts all day.'' Subsequent arrivals include a pair of royal lions, three little pigs (chased by a not so big nor so bad wolf) and four proud peacocks, until the last table (for 10) is taken by a hen and her baby chicks. But then there comes another knock at the door. Enter a tiny mouse, for whom Mr. Panda finds a makeshift table and an enormous wedge of cheese. Calmenson's ( Wanted: Warm, Furry Friend ) bouncy, rhyming verse and innovative cast of characters give this counting book zip. Readers will enjoy poring over Westcott's ( Skip to My Lou ; There's a Hole in the Bucket ) frolicsome pictures as they take stock of the animals' antics, facial expressions and choice of entrees. Only after many rereadings will little ones get their fill. Ages 3-8. ( Mar. )