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Home > Children's Books > The Pandas and Their Chopsticks

Cover of Pandas

Available Now

at your local bookseller or your favorite online book retailer.

The Pandas and Their Chopsticks:
and Other Animal Stories
Written and illustrated by: Demi
Subject(s): Age(s) / Grade level  / Lexile:

Juvenile Fiction / Legends, Myths, Fables

4 and up / 2nd–3rd / Lexile measure: 530L

Format: Size / page count:


8" × 10" / 28 pages

ISBN: Date available:


Available now



Eating bamboo shoots with chopsticks three feet long? Impossible, you say. Not if you are a playful panda and learn to share and work together with your friends! In her beautifully illustrated new book, award-winning author, Demi, presents ten classic animal stories, each containing important moral lessons for little hearts and minds to absorb. Cunning kitties, helpful hummingbirds, talkative turtles, and hasty hedgehogs, all bring these meaningful fables to life. Through her magical illustrations and whimsical storytelling, Demi teaches the importance of being humble, the dangers of being too proud, the importance of generosity and sharing, and how everyone, no matter how small, has a part to play in life.

Videos Related to the Book (hide/show)

The Book Trailer Video for
The Pandas and Their Chopsticks: and Other Animal Stories

Watch the video below to get a visual summary of the pages in the book.

Awards & Honors
  • Winner in the “Children's Picture Book: Hardcover Fiction” category of the USA “Best Books 2014” Awards, sponsored by USA Book News
  • Gold Medal in the “Illustration – Graphic” category and Silver Medals in the “Cover” and “Interior Layout” categories of the 2014 Midwest Book Awards
  • 2014 Bronze Book of the Year Award from Foreword Magazine in the category “Picture Books (Children’s)”


  • Parents can download a 375KB file of a coloring page from this book. The full letter-size page features the two main characters from the fable in the book titled “The Fox Who Was King of the Forest”: the fox and the tiger. The figures are quite detailed so this might be best suited to children with a steady hand (and orange, black, and yellow colors!). Click here for this file in jpg format in a new tab or window, which you can print out for your child's enjoyment, or right-click on the link for other options. Remember: it is best to save the file to your computer and then print it out, rather than printing it out from the web page display itself.

Reviews (hide/show)

“Award-winning author-illustrator Demi (The Empty Pot) brings her considerable artistic skill to this collection of 10 animal stories. Themes of generosity, humility, and cooperation are presented through the antics of pandas, hedgehogs, hummingbirds, and turtles. Most of the tales unfold in a single illustrated spread, ending with a moral, set in italics (‘Pride often opens our mouths. Humility tells us when to keep them closed,’ reads the conclusion to ‘The Turtle Who Couldn’t Stop Talking’). Not all of the stories are original to Demi—for example, ‘The Pandas and Their Chopsticks’ is a reworking of the traditional parable of the long spoons—but the illustrations set her version apart. Rich in color and pattern, with distinctive, whimsical borders that feature the animals mentioned in the stories, they will certainly draw the eye of young readers; ‘The Fox Who Was King of the Forest’ depicts a small menagerie of animals in addition to the titular fox. The moral associated with each tale could be used as a teaching tool for parents or caregivers who want to discuss, or encourage, these qualities. Ages 6–up.”
Publishers Weekly
“Each of these 10 fables (nine are about animals and one about a river flowing into the ocean) includes a moral or proverb worthy of discussion. . . . Demi’s signature motifs are used generously, often in the faint patterns filling many of the mainly pastel backgrounds. Borders around the illustrated pages are filled with gesturing, parading, and cavorting animals from the particular tales. . . .
School Library Journal
“Creatures drawn with delicate, calligraphic strokes float in negative space on the pages within patterned borders. . . . The art adds a vivacious energy to each episode.”
Kirkus Reviews
“Animals come alive in beautifully illustrated, powerful stories with an Eastern flair.

“Aesop meets Confucius in The Pandas and Their Chopsticks: And Other Animal Stories, a blend of classic Chinese proverbs, Indian jatakas, and traditional fables. With her trademark Eastern flair, award-winning and critically acclaimed author and illustrator Demi is back with a collection of ten vignettes, each accompanied by colorful and imaginative illustrations and a brief word of wisdom meant for children ages four and up but relevant for everyone.

“Demi’s spirited animal friends will help children discover, among other things, the joys of being humble, generous, and helpful. Each tale, with names like ‘The Cat Who Prayed’ and ‘The Owl’s Hoot,’ packs a powerful yet succinctly worded message. Brightly detailed borders indicate main characters, so, even without a table of contents, it is easy to locate a favorite.

“The animals of each story come alive through Demi’s bright, oriental style paintings. Children will enjoy counting the number of animals on each page; there are more than a hundred butterflies on the two page spread of ‘The Kite on a String.’ The subtle, sparkling stars scattered throughout are in turns vividly bold and so subtle they’re barely discernible, yet they serve as a uniting element for each fable.

“Most tales are straightforward enough that even the very young will easily make the connection between the events in the story and the proposed moral. However, some—like ‘Be very careful with your thoughts. They can make false things seem true’ from ‘A Hedgehog Thinks Twice’—may require further exploration and discussion with an adult, making The Pandas and Their Chopsticks perfect for character education or introducing self-reflection.

At this point, loyal Demi fans may be thinking that this all sounds awfully familiar, and it should. ‘The Fox who was King of the Forest’ is a reincarnation of ‘The Tiger’s Tale’ from The Dragon’s Tale and Other Fables of the Chinese Zodiac, as is ‘The Frog Who Counted Two Stars from the Bottom of his Well,’ known previously as ‘The Goat’s Tale.’ The same is true for Demi’s Reflective Fables and A Chinese Zoo, which includes five retold fables, including the titular ‘The Pandas and their Chopsticks.’ There are enough appreciable variants, though, including artwork and the focus of each story, that collecting these and other volumes is not overly redundant.

“Beginning readers will appreciate the brevity of each tale, and the detailed borders will captivate when the stories are read aloud. The Pandas and Their Chopsticks is a versatile collection that would work well for independent reading and group sharing. This book is a solid choice for public, elementary, and home libraries.”
Pallas Gates McCorquodale, from a review in ForeWord Reviews
The Pandas and Their Chopsticks and Other Animal Stories considers what polite pandas, kitties, and other animals have in common: in short, it's Demi’s art, that brings them all to life in Asian folktales retold for young readers. From how panda learns to share to how turtle discovers the dangers in pride, ages 5 and older receive short stories that require good picture book reading skills (or parental assistance) but which offer gentle fables and guidelines for better living. When Hedgehog loses his favorite shovel, for example, he suspects a neighboring hedgehog of thievery — and his suspicious mind builds a case based solely on his neighbor's annoying actions. When he finds his shovel and takes another look, it's to find that ‘nothing about him looked like a thief’. Parents will find this the perfect approach to teaching young children about better ways of approaching the world.”
Children's Bookwatch, a review publication of Midwest Book Review
The Pandas and their Chopsticks by author/illustrator Demi features ten mini folk tales with a moral for each story. Reduced to the most minimal plot line, the stories convey the essence of each tale. The beauty of the tales is told in the vivid illustrations. Playful black and white Pandas featured on red and orange tigers, and foxes featured on purple bring alive the stories for the eyes of the youngest. . . . The book does offer great opportunities to discuss the stories to see how the child can adapt the information to their lives.”
—from a review in the San Francisco Book Review

Pages 8-9 from the book “The Pandas and Their Chopsticks – and Other Animal Stories”, written and illustrated by Demi

An image of pages 8–9 from The Pandas and Their Chopsticks: and Other Animal Stories,
written and illustrated by Demi

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