100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

Exclusive Book Trailer Premiere: THE PANDA PROBLEM


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.

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.