Dad of Divas' Reviews: Book Review - Rainbow Panda And The Firecracker Fiasco

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Book Review - Rainbow Panda And The Firecracker Fiasco

About the Book
The multi award-winning Fujimini Adventure series introduces children to Asian culture and important life lessons through an array of endearing stories that all take place on the fictitious Fujimini Island. In the newest title of the series, that will be released nationwide this spring, Rainbow Panda and the Firecracker Fiasco readers are introduced to Rainbow Panda, a new Fujimini character who loves firecrackers. It’s the eve of the Asian New Year and all the animals are getting ready for the big celebration. 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 the green and pink hamsters to join him.

They have each been reprimanded by their parents that they are not to play with matches or firecrackers, but continue with their plan. When Rainbow Panda starts to light matches in the woods, he sets the forest on fire and all the adults come to help put out the fire. The Dynasty Dragon’s mom comes and turns a cloud into rain that 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 for additional chores to show everyone that they are sorry for the fiasco that they started.

Written by award-winning author Eileen Wacker, the series features a collection of Asian inspired animals, such as the Pink and Green Hamster, Red Penguin, Samurai Tortoise, Dynasty Dragon, among other adorable animals, that all live on the magical Fujimini Island. Each adventure-based story has an educational message and a happy ending. The series currently consists of 5 books that target the 5-8 year old reader. Each book contains a Fujimini Adventure Series Glossary that explains different Asian items found in the stories such as bonsai tree, chopsticks, sushi, moon festival, samurai warriors, etc., and adds to the fun of the stories.

Other books in the Fujimini Adventure Series are: Green Hamster and the Quest for Fun, about a rascally Green Hamster who is convinced that all the other animals are having more fun than he. He sets off on an adventure to make sure he has the best day ever…but meets some unexpected challenges along the way. Red Penguin and the Missing Sushi tells the tale of the Moon Festival Celebration. Red Penguin is bragging about her wonderful sushi, which upsets the salad-making hamsters. Suddenly, the sushi has gone missing. Will the Red Penguin find the sushi in time for the big celebration? The third book of the series is Silent Samurai and the Magnificent Rescue in which the Tortoise Samurai warriors come to Fujimini Island on a special mission. A bit scared of the Samurai warriors at first the animals on the island come together to help the Samurai and become friends.

Pink Hamster and the Big Birthday Surprise! is a fun story about what most every child enjoys, birthday cake. Pink Hamster loves birthday cake so much she dreams about it at night. But everyone forgets her special day and she worries that she won’t get any birthday cake. Black Tortoise and the Dynasty Dragon shares a little history about the ancient Samurai battle boats and the Dragon in Asian culture. When some of the animals start to go missing, the Samurai go on a mission to help find them and discover the young Dynasty Dragon that was sent to Fujimini Island for protection. Reuniting the Dynasty Dragon youngster with his mother brings all the animals together.

About the Author
Eileen Wacker’s journey to become a children’s book author took a circuitous route. She has a deep passion for storytelling and a genuine curiosity in cultures of the world.

She moved with her husband and their four children, Olivia, Christian, Ethan and Natalie to Seoul, South Korea and lived there for four years. The family traveled extensively across Asia, visiting many countries, most frequently China and Japan. Eventually the family settled in Honolulu, Hawaii, and Eileen continued to visit Japan and Korea as her husband was still commuting to Seoul for his job. She is inspired by the rich and diverse cultures of Asia and enthused to learn of the many traditions, celebrations and unique viewpoints found there.

In Seoul, she ran the school’s book program, sparking her interest in children’s books. One of her children is Chinese and after researching the market, she discovered a shortage of quality children’s books drawing upon pan-Asian themes. She decided to develop a book series with Asian characters for the mainstream children’s book market (in English language children’s books).

In 2007 she conceived of what developed into the Fujimini Island Adventure Series. The first book was released on the Hawaii islands in 2010. Eileen is an active educator and blogger, writing articles about her passions – parenting, diversity and technology, for major online and print media. She is a board member of Assets School in Honolulu, a school for gifted students who learn in different ways than mainstream students. Eileen Wacker graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a finance degree and attended Harvard Business School where she earned her MBA.

ONCEKids seeks to push innovation in reading, expose young readers to elements from several Asian cultures, and unite moms, parents, caregivers, educators online to blog about experiences, challenges, and modern strategies in parenting and education.

My Take on the Book
My daughters have not had a lot of experience being introduced to Asian culture where we live unfortunately, and even though we try to have them meet as many people as we can, it is still hard in the town and geographic area that we are in. With that in mind, stories like this provide me with the opportunity to be able to open their eyes to the world around them. This story was well written and really allows the listener to use their imagination. What I liked most though is that it allowed me to have some great conversations with my daughters abut the world around them, which for me is exactly what I like from a book. The illustrations within the book were also very vibrant and jumped off the page. All-in-all this was a fun book that will open your family's eyes to the Asian culture and the world!

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.

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