Park's lively text trips along through a playground of sound with clever rhyme and liberal use of alliteration, assonance, and internal rhyme. Read these lines out loud:
"Xander planned a panda party."
"Xander didn't understand her."
"Xander's party preparations took great pains and perspiration."
"He wasn't sure what he should do. He chewed a slew of new bamboo; he nibbled, gnawed, and thought things through."
My one quibble is that, according to the text, the name Zhu Zi is pronounced "like saying 'zoo' mixed up with 'shoe.'" But Zhu Zi--Chinese for bamboo--is pronounced "jū dz" which doesn't sound, to my ear, like "zoo mixed up with shoe."
This celebration of sight and sound is like . . . a party.
Xander's Panda Party
by Linda Sue Park
illustrated by Matt Phelan
published by Clarion Books
Recommended for ages 4 and up