Red Pandas (Nature’s Children), by Josh Gregory
This book is about red pandas. By and large, that should be enough for it to be a good enough book, and it is. As obscure but compelling animals, red pandas are easy animals to support and root for. When one is looking at obscure animals, there are at least a few elements that make a book worthwhile, including showing plenty of pictures and providing plenty of information about the animal as well as where and how it lives. These are certainly elements that this book has. As someone who has read quite a few books that seek to be introductory volumes to animals, this book hits the high points. If you like that sort of book and have a curiosity about red pandas, this book has a lot that such readers would be appreciative about. That said, there are at least some parts of this book that are less enjoyable, and the most obvious of those elements is the way that the book pivots from being about an enjoyable animal which is easy to appreciate to a book that seeks to push people into environmental activism and which delves into hypocrisy by both blaming human beings for being too interested in the red panda for various purposes and disrupting its lives while being a book that would also draw more interest in red pandas in zoos if not in its natural habitat.
This book is a short one at less than 50 pages, as is typical for this sort of work. It begins by introducing the animal and its looks, which are sort of like a ginger raccoon, which is all well and good (1). This is followed by a discussion of how the animal survives in the Himalayas (2) and what animals are a threat to it–both wild dogs as well as leopards. This is followed by how the mostly solitary red pandas deal with each other as rivals, mates, and babies (3), who develop somewhat slowly and are kicked out of the nest in time for their mothers to breed again the next year. After that the book discusses red pandas as a unique animal that is apparently not closely related to any other mammal (4). Finally, the book ends with a discussion of the relationship between pandas and people (5), after which the book ends with a look at vocabulary in the book, a habitat map, resources for further information, an index, and information about the author.