Pretty Pictures ~ Yu Rong

   Yu Rong was so right in choosing a Chinese painting technique to bring to life all the splendor and adoration that surrounds one of the world's most beloved creatures- pandas.  Each page is feathered with Nick Dowson's soft verse that slips in educational morsels, "High on a mist-wrapped mountain, cradled in a leafy nest, a mother panda holds her newborn cub gently in her giant paw." 

   But Rong's captivating brush paintings in Tracks of a Panda made me markedly pause and then dissolve into the mystical world of these endangered beauties.

   Yu Rong was born and raised in China.  She studied Chinese art in Nanjing and then continued at the Royal College of Art in London where she received a master's degree.  The opportunity to illustrate this book was no mistake because, "Panda and I have the same nationality, and I have a very deep love for pandas.  Tracks of a Panda allowed me to use a Chinese painting technique for my illustrations; it felt like the most appropriate and beautiful way for me to express my feelings for pandas," as she shared in the jacket flap.

   Each page tells the story of their day and their journey, but each also has an inset of facts about pandas.  I actually learned a few things.  I never realized their black and white fur makes for spectacular camouflage in winter until seeing it depicted in such gorgeous landscapes.  I did not know pandas sometimes eat things other than bamboo (such as insects, fish, or meat) or also that mother pandas will not share their territory with other pandas or people-  which further explains why they are endangered.  As their habitats are decimated, thus creates less land to divvy up between them.

My favorite page, "Clouds curl around their tracks as they go."

   Nick Dowson resides in England and, other than an author, is a naturalist and an English and drama teacher.  He says, "Writing this book made me think again that pandas may look soft and cuddly, but they need to be very tough to survive.  I hope they are able to stay in the mountains so there will always be wild pandas in the world." 

   Tracks of a Panda (for ages 5+) is not only a great story full of stunning imagery, but is also a great tool for science lesson plans involving animal habitats and lifecycles, a geography lesson on China, or an art lesson on Chinese brush technique!

Click here for instructions on how to make this simple, felt panda purse.

For an easy snack plate, a more involved panda that encourages recycling, and many more ideas click here.

Lastly, for the most adventurous of you 
who aren't scared of a little dough,
click here for show-stopping panda bread.


  1. oh MY - WHAT a Beautiful book!!

  2. i spent a couple of months in china! this book is awesome!


    1. I bet it was so beautiful!! Thanks for stopping by! (And sorry for the delay...I'm back from a little hiatus.)