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The Legend of Panda    by Linda Granfield & Song Nan Zhang order for
Legend of Panda
by Linda Granfield
Order:  USA  Can
Tundra, 2001 (1998)
Hardcover, Softcover
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In The Legend of Panda, Linda Granfield gives us a re-telling of a Chinese legend that explains the origins of the panda's attractive black-and-white coat. Song Nan Zhang's gorgeous, richly detailed paintings bring the landscape of Sichuan province to life.

We're told about a delightful young shepherdess, Dolma, who lived with her three sisters in the Wolong Valley. Each day, she led her sheep up the mountain trail, 'past frosty waterfalls and over moss-covered rocky paths to the fragrant meadows.' There she collected medicinal herbs and mountain blossoms, while her flock grazed.

Dolma was happy when a white cub came out of the nearby forest and frolicked 'like a furry acrobat' amongst the sheep. So, when a snow leopard attacked, she defended the cub. She died for her bravery. All the Beishung (pandas) mourned Dolma, smearing themselves with ashes, which stained their thick white fur forever. The four sisters were transformed into mountain peaks.

It's a charming legend, and Linda Granfield includes at the back of the book facts about The Giant Panda (whose name means bamboo-eater in Nepalese), and about efforts to preserve this sadly endangered species.

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