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Publisher: HarperTrophy, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers,
Summary: Master Shifu and the Fearful Five — Tigress, Crane, Monkey, Viper, and Mantis — are preparing for Tai Lung's attack. They have all trained hard and each has a skill that can save the Valley of Peace. Just as Master Shifu is ready to name the Dragon Warrior, Po (a panda) lands in the dojo's courtyard. Po will be the Dragon Warrior This is a learning-to-read book built around the Summer 2008 movie Kung Fu Panda.
Type of Reading: learning to read, read aloud book, easy reader, short chapter, illustrated chapter
Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 8; read yourself: 5 to 9
Interest Level: 4 to 7
Reading Level: 2.3
Age of Child: Shared with a 7-year-old boy.
Young Reader Reaction: Our reader was more interested in the pictures (and acting out the samurai positions) than in reading the story. He spent a good bit of time exploring the book before settling in to read it. He was worried about the number of pages (32).
Adult Reader Reaction: I was hoping that this would be a fun story to grab my reluctant reader's attention. It is an introductory chapter to the story to come, as the book is largely a way for you to meet the characters.
Pros: Boys will particularly like this book that offers them a chance to read about the characters they met at the movies. This is a good book for encouraging summer reading.
Cons: This would be better as part of an I Can Read series chapter book. Don't change the reading level, but put the books together as a collection so that you have the whole story.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. If your child is interested in kung fu or Kung Fu Panda and s/he is learning to read, you will want to borrow this book alongside the other picture books in this collection.
Educational Themes: Like many learning-to-read books, this is less about themes than it is about practicing sight words and developing vocabulary. Look for other stories about kung fu and samurai warriors ... that DON'T have a movie connection.