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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Ruby Panda’s Christmas Surprise, written by Kirsten Wheelock and with illustrations by Mehwish Umber, is a sweet children's story of one red panda’s very special surprise. It’s that special time of year at the zoo where everyone is coming to visit the animals so that they can deliver presents, decorate trees with yummy treats, and hang wreaths on the doors. Ruby has visited her Zoopals to collect fur and feathers for a surprise that she can’t wait to share.
The story focuses on Ruby Panda and her secret, which has the charming backdrop of Christmas seen through lovely illustrations that depict people doing the usual holiday traditions, but instead they’re doing this for the animals. These are shown through colorful images of people with presents, snowy trees with lights, putting pretty wreaths on the doors, and with all the animals settled in together to sleep. The story is adorable and shows the zoo as a harmonious place with everyone being friends. Their zoo is a place where the animals have happy lives and the illustrations perfectly capture the festive and joyful feeling of Christmas time. Kirsten Wheelock has brought to life the perfect story that children will love during the holidays and the ideal treat to share as a family for Christmas.
As the story weaves through the holiday festivities, it’s soon discovered what is Ruby Panda’s very special surprise. The story is followed by facts about red pandas and includes information to teach children how zoos are helping the red panda species. A mask is included at the end of the book which can be printed out and will be fun for children to cut out so they can make their own red panda. The illustrations have charming details and gentle colors that provide the perfect backdrop to Ruby Panda’s Christmas Surprise - the sweet tale of a red panda and her lovely surprise.