The Emperor’s Panda
By David Day
Illustrated by Eric Beddows
I really enjoyed this book. I really liked it. Yes, I am an adult, and yes this is an original fairy tale by the beyond talented David Day. In a world where it is acceptable for adult readers to indulge in young adult titles, I think it ought to be equally encouraged for adult readers to take the time to read some children’s fiction. To this day, some of my personal favourite stories are considered to be children’s stories. They have a timeless quality, embedded with a very clear message and gently trying to guide us in the ‘right’ direction.
The Emperor’s Panda is no different. It pulls you almost instantly into a world where the music of a simple instrument, can cast a spell as bewitching as an enchanted forest. The protagonist is a young flute player named Kung who is mild and even tempered until his uncle is tricked and taken away by sorcerers with evil intentions. Kung follows his uncle and on the ways encounters a dragon, an enchanted forest, a beautiful and wise princess and an emperor with an unusual collection.
The pleasure in the ‘moral’ of this tale is one of simplicity: “What was it that the great panda had always said? Balance, not conflict. Overcome evil with reason, not with force.”
Taking the time to slow down and think allows Kung to defeat a great evil and reunite with his good friend panda. I wonder what kind of place the world would be if we all slowed down just a little and took the time to think a bit more. Perhaps this story is meant for children, but perhaps there are some adults who could use to indulge in a fairy tale too.