Marmalade – the Orange Panda
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
One morning, deep in the forest, a beautiful baby panda was born. The panda was different to all the others, as he had dazzling orange fur.
“I will call you Marmalade,” his mummy whispered. . .
But when the other pandas see him they are not impressed – rather this embarrassment of pandas is embarrassed. And so, Marmalade sets out on a perilous adventure through the jungle to find out just where he belongs….
Setting aside the fact that pandas are solitary animals and that the creatures Marmalade meets would not be found anywhere near his natural home, this is a story about family love, being yourself and finding your place in the world – a message our youngest readers need to hear often as they begin to develop their own identity and be comfortable with it. And while they would have or will hear the theme in many stories, it is the ending that makes this one different. For it doesn’t come to a cosy conclusion with Marmalade snuggling in close to his Mama again – they get up to some hilarious mischief that lightens the message and leaves the reader with a smile.
Using a series of framed illustrations, Walliams and Stower have packed a lot into this story as Marmalade discovers that he is not the only orange creature in the jungle and that not everyone is as friendly as they look, making it seem much longer than the traditional 32-page read. The humour, vocabulary and layout carry it along at a fast pace with much to discover on every page and every read.