Little Lemur sees that Mr. Panda has an armful of gifts, and asks who they are for. Mr. Panda replies that they’re for his friends, so Lemur accompanies him as he hands out handmade presents to Mouse, Octopus, Elephant and Mountain Goat. None of the animals are quite pleased with their gifts (which are all ill-fitting clothes), but Lemur reminds them that it’s the thought that counts. And in fact, the last gift is for Lemur himself: a too-large pair of underwear! But Lemur still remembers to say “Thank you, Mr. Panda!”; after all, it’s important to have good manners!
As with its predecessors, this book is a subtle and fun lesson in manners, obviously placing the emphasis on showing gratitude when someone gives you a thoughtful gift, even if it isn’t perfect. And as with the previous two books, we loved the visual gags, the colorful and lively art, and the adorably gruff Mr. Panda. However, I did miss a theme that the previous two books had shared: the animal friend that displayed the good manners came away with the greatest reward. Here, Lemur is the only one of Mr. Panda’s friends who remembers to say thank you, yet still ends up with a gift he can’t really use. Perhaps this wouldn’t have bothered me so if the best present of the bunch, a pile of delicious donuts, had not gone to perhaps the rudest animal of all (the elephant, who did not even open the gift when it was given). It threw me for a bit of a loop, considering the previous two books shared this plot device, but I suppose that could be the point: it truly is the thought that counts. Regardless, the length was great, and JJ still adored her grumpy panda as always, so this one is still very much Baby Bookworm approved.