100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

Exclusive Book Trailer Premiere: THE PANDA PROBLEM

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Today I’m honored to share the book trailer for The Panda Problem, a picture book written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Hannah Marks. But first, I wanted to ask Deborah some questions about the book.

Travis: Hi Deborah! What was the initial spark for THE PANDA PROBLEM?

Deborah Underwood: Oh gosh, I can’t remember the initial moment of inspiration. But I’d wanted to write a book with a panda character for years, and a book where the main character (or is Panda the main character?) is a problem seemed like a good fit. Pandas are the perfect combination of adorableness and mischief.

Travis: So much of writing is trying to get the pieces to fit and make uncooperative characters cooperate. Was it a satisfying experience to talk directly to the characters in the story?

Deborah: I loved writing this story! The narrator’s frustration is a frustration I often feel during the writing process, and it was fun to just go with it and let my character wreak havoc.

Travis: What was the most difficult part of the story to write? Why do you think that was?

Deborah: The trickiest part was the ending, as is often the case. Endings are hard! Especially for a humorous book, you need the perfect button: something short, surprising, and hopefully laugh-out-loud funny. I looked at my first Panda draft recently, and the only part of the story that changed substantially during the editing process is the last third or so. The first ending I wrote was more of an “aw, cute” one, but my great editor led me to find a better and more satisfying one. I’ve read the last page about a million times now, and it still makes me chuckle, so I think all the work paid off.

Travis: A very important question. What snack puts you in peak creativity mode?

Deborah: Ah, excellent question! I used to be a total sugar addict, but I mostly gave up sugar last year. So now I’d say it’s a perfectly-toasted fresh sourdough English muffin from the bakery down the street from me. (The ten-minute walk to get there helps clear my head, too.)

Thanks for taking my questions, Deborah! And now, for the first time, the book trailer for The Panda Problem.

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About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.

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