Red Pandas (Paws And Claws), by Sara Swan Miller
It seems that books about red pandas are all the same. Having read three books on this obscure animal, I can safely say that there is very little difference between the approach that any of them take to the red panda. And there is something interesting in the very limited range of things that people write about when it comes to red pandas. One would think that an animal that lives in the mountains of South Asia would have something interesting to provide that might allow for creativity and originality, but no, one can pick up just about any book on Red Pandas and learn a few essential facts about them. With many animals, there are a lot of quirky aspects about them. For example, when one reads about skunks, there are many ways that such a thing could be taken, from a look at the daily life of a skunk to its appetite to its range to its status as an exotic pet to its life in fur farms to its scent, and so on and so forth. Not all books cover all of the same material. The same is true of animals like buzzards or cows, as there are many aspects of these animals that are focused on, a few that are obvious to mention but many more that are sometimes discussed and sometimes not. But that is not the case with red pandas, which suggests they are not well known or else someone would have something to say about them that was not said by everyone else.
This book has a pretty distinctive format with text on the left page and photos of red pandas and related matters on the right side of the page. As far as the materials of the book goes, the short volume of 24 pages is divided into several unnumbered chapters that cover the usual bases. First, there is a question about what red pandas are and their relationship with black pandas. After that there is a look at red pandas as cute and furry with tails like a raccoon. This is followed by the wonderful paws and claws, which prompts a question about the fitness of red pandas (like regular pandas) for eating bamboo through their false thumb. After that comes a look at the diet of red pandas, which is mostly bamboo but also includes insects, leaves, and apparently biscuits (?), as well as the quiet and sleepy life that red pandas live. This is then followed, predictably, by a look at the predators of red pandas, which focuses on martens and and snow leopards. After that there is a discussion of the solitary life of red pandas as well as their cuteness as babies. Then, also predictably, the book ends with a discussion of the red panda as endangered as well as a call for the reader to help the red panda survive despite its endangered status, after which there is a glossary, index, and web sites for further reading.