Pandas' Earthquake Escape

BookList Online - April 2010

In 2008, an earthquake in northern China destroyed the Wolong Panda Reserve. Inspired by this devastating, real-life event, this picture book tells the story of a mother panda and her cub that are shaken from the trees in a nature reserve when an earthquake hits. Frightened but unharmed, the animals flee across a paved road and into a neighboring forest, “farther and farther away from their home.” After surviving on roots and stream water, mother and child are rescued by wildlife workers, who sedate the pair with darts that deliver “medicine to put both giant pandas to sleep” and return them to their protected home at the reserve. The human figures in the softly textured pastel illustrations have a somewhat stilted quality, but children will easily connect with the animals’ fear and relief, conveyed in their expressive faces. Concluding spreads offer curriculum links with facts and activities focused on both giant pandas and earthquakes. Pair this with Sandra Markle’s Finding Home (2008) for another conservation story about how humans can help animals displaced by natural disaster.

Books For Learning - May 2012

Pandas' Earthquake Escape depicts how wild life is impacted by natural disasters.   Even in the midst of the confusion, though, the mother is quick to protect her young.   Animals have amazing survival instincts and resilient spirits.  This book reminds us how the panda’s habitat and food supply are endangered. As a result, there are reserves (like the one shown in this book) that help protect them, so they may continue to thrive and multiply. The story, though fictional,  is believable and appealing.  Artist Susan Detwiller has created striking illustrations with texture and depth.  The pandas’ features and emotions are captured brilliantly.  Their habitat is vivid and realistic.   I recommend this book for ages 4 and up. 

2nd Grade Reading - May 2012

Every child loves pandas. In this fictional story, the author draws on that love by following a mother and cub in the aftermath of the 2008 devastating earthquake in Eastern Sichuan, China. Tengfei, the cub, and Liling, his mother, are residents of the heavily damaged Wolong Panda Reserve. The reader sees the confusion and fright any animal would suffer as a result of being displaced and alone. This empathetic approach allows the reader to learn while enjoying the story.

Over a Steaming Cup of Tea - May 2012

I really appreciated this book. The first thought that struck me was that I rarely get the chance to read about natural disasters from an animal’s point of view. I was made to think about just how disorienting that experience must be for an animal. Also, for an animal that has lived its entire life in a reserve, suddenly roaming around a forest and needing to find food would be quite terrifying!

Susan Detwiler did not disappoint with her magnificent illustrations. Through her illustrations, I was able to experience the rich flora of a mountain in China. The emotion she conveyed on the faces of the pandas had me sympathizing with them over their plight!

Live, Learn, Love-September 2010

Panda's Earthquake Escape is a fictional story based on real-life events.  A mother panda, LiLing, and her one year old cub, Tengfei survive an earthquake and its aftershocks, but in fear they ran.  LiLing's instinct is to protect the cub, but they get lost.  They eat strange food, but come through just fine and are returned to their reserve.  This book would fit perfectly into a unit study of endangered animals as well as teaching children about animals when they are learning about emergency drills.
- Annette Whipple

Amazing Kids! - July/August

Pandas’ Earthquake Escape, by Phyllis J. Perry is a fictional story based on a real life happening. On May 12, 2008, a 7.9 earthquake caused a whole lot of damage to Northern China, and one panda did escape from the Wolong Panda Reserve, which was damaged severely. This story is based on a mother panda and her baby, and how they keep besides one another throughout their entire adventure. When they were separated they would find their way back to one another.

This story teaches children about earthquakes and animal survival. There is always something to be learned from a natural disaster and that is no different for earthquakes. In the end, they safely find their way back to the reserve in which they live. Both pandas are very happy to be home and, after all, there’s no place like home.

I liked this story because it showed how outside your home there is a great adventure, but inside your home you are safe and protected, and there is nowhere else like it. Pandas’ Earthquake Escape is a great story for kids because of the lesson learned: there is no place like home.
- Natalie Brady

Boulder Daily Camera - June 2010

Boulder resident Phyllis J. Perry notes that she has authored more than 70 books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction for children and adults. And with her newest book, "Pandas' Earthquake Escape," she does not disappoint. The former BVSD teacher and principal does not stop at merely writing a whimsical tale about make-believe giant pandas Liling and her cub Tengfei.

No. An educator to the core, Perry bases this fictional story on the May 2008 Sichuan earthquake that rocked China, damaging the Wolong Panda Reserve. The author uses the real life 7.9 earthquake to teach children about animal survival, earthquakes, essentially and cleverly marrying make believe and reality. Included with the book are free online resources and support such as teaching activities and related websites.

It's a darling story, and illustrator Susan Detwiler's rich portrayal successfully brings the tale to life.

Liling and Tengfei woke to the ground trembling and trees swaying. The wall around the nature enclosure where they lived came crashing down and the two frightened pandas ran from the area. Briefly getting separated, the baby panda stopped and squealed. While the mom panda didn't actually look for her lost little Tengfei, the smaller panda did fortunately spot his mom's familiar black and white markings of her fur and hustled to catch up with her in the forest.

The two giant pandas huddled close to each other when not wandering the forest for several days looking for food and shelter and wonddering what had happened. Throughout the story Perry shares with readers how animals, like people, make use of their survival instincts. Eventually the pair of pandas were carefully captured and returned to their old reserve and their keepers provided armloads of bamboo shoots, some of their favorite things to eat.

Perry ends the story with the two adorable pandas snuggling. And who doesn't love to look at pandas in pictures or in real life?

With its giant panda fun facts and its historical earthquake dates, places and figures, "Pandas' Earthquake Escape" is a worthy addition to a classroom or home library.
- Bette Erikson

Katie's Literature Lounge - June 2010

Perry attempts to recreate the events of the May 12, 2008 earthquake in Northern China, as she shares the story of two fictitious pandas, Tengfei and his mother, Liling. The two pandas are resting in a bamboo tree, when suddenly the earth begins to shake, disrupting their lives in ways that are hard for children to imagine. However, Perry makes the events of the earthquake easy for children to understand, as she shares how the earthquake disrupts their habitat, ways of protection, and methods of survival, including finding food to eat. However, as motherly instinct kicks in, Liling goes to all ends to keep little Tengfei protected (including food and shelter) as the two wait out the earthquake and are eventually returned to the reservation in which they had previously been living.

Children will love the story of courageous Liling and her panda cub, Tengfei. There is a whole wealth of knowledge to be learned about pandas in this story, while also depicting an accurate portrayal of an actual earthquake and the impact it had on panda wildlife.

Learning/Reading Activity:
As with the other books published, Arbordale has again provided a Teaching Activities packet to be used in collaboration with this story. My personal favorite activity was the sequencing strips that could be found on page 14 of the packet, as I felt the story is ideal to be used as a comprehension activity with children as young as my preschoolers! However, there is a whole wealth of other activities inside that are definitely wonderful, as well!
- Katie Harvey

Children's and Teens' Book Connection - June 2010

This delightful story is based on the real life story of a Giant panda who did escape from the destroyed Wolong Panda Reserve when the 7.9 earthquake rocked Northern China on May 12, 2008.  Author Phyllis Perry uses the adventures of a mother panda, LiLing, and her one-year-old cub, Tengfei, to teach children about the endangered panda, and how they adapt to dangerous situations. In Panda’s Earthquake Escape, mother and cub escape from the wreckage. Confused and afraid, they get lost! How will they survive outside their reserve? Where will they find food and shelter?

“Tengfei watched.  He had never seen anything like this before.  These were not bamboo shoots, but he was really hungry.  Finally he tried one of the bulbs.  It wasn’t so bad.  He ate several more.  While they were eating, the earth beneath their feet began moving again.”

With the help of Susan Detwiler’s vivid illustrations, children will fall in love with this mother and her cub as they experience this event through the eyes of these gentle animals.

In “the creative minds” section at the end of the book you will find fun Panda facts and a life cycle sequencing activity.  Teachers will love the two pages of earthquake facts as well.
- Kathy Stemke

Raising Itty Bitty Bookworms - May 2010

Pandas' Earthquake Escape is a fictional story based on a real-life event. In real life, XiXi, a giant panda did escape from the destroyed Wolong Panda Reserve when the 7.9 earthquake rocked Northern China on May 12, 2008. Author Phyllis Perry uses the adventures of a mother panda, LiLing, and her one-year old cub, Tengfei, to teach children about earthquakes, animal survival, and to reinforce a mother s instinct to protect her child.

Earlier in the school year, Samantha's class did a comprehensive study of China.  They even went to The National Zoo in Washington, D.C. to see the panda exhibit.  Needless to say, she fell in love with the pandas.  Therefore, I knew she would appreciate this book.  Boy, was I right!  She has read it several times and comments on the adorable panda illustrations each time.  Not only are the illustrations beautiful, but the story is heartfelt and endearing.

BookLoons - April 2010

Two giant pandas, mother Liling and cub Tengfei (which means soaring high), awaken from their nap with puzzlement. Their tree is swaying back and forth, accompanied by a trembling of the ground. The earthquake causes the tree limb to break as the pandas fall.

'The earth shook again. The wall around the nature enclosure where they lived came crashing down ... The two frightened pandas ran off ... rocks knocking down trees, walls falling down, and people shouting. The two frightened pandas kept running.' Attempting to keep pace on the trail with his mother leading the way, Tengfei suddenly realizes she's not in front of him. A frightened Tengfei is 'all alone, lost, and didn't know what was happening. What was shaking his world?'

When his mother reappears, they run 'deeper and deeper into the forest, farther and farther away from their home'. When the earthquake spreads, the two giant pandas hide out in a dark cave; by morning they are hungry and thirsty. Just as they began dining on plant bulbs and drinking from a mountain stream, 'the earth beneath their feet began moving again'. Wandering in the forest to try to find their way back home, Liling and Tengfei see five men coming towards them. The cub and mother are frightened even more. Will they survive the earthquake?

Interaction activities are at the end of the book, include Endangered Giant Pandas, Life Cycle Sequencing, and Giant Panda Fun Facts. Information about earthquakes – Shake, Rattle & Roll - includes The Richter Scale and Magnitude Ranges, and Where in the World. Phyllis J. Perry renders a true-life story of giant pandas and threats to their wildlife refuge, and their instincts to survive. The giant pandas and their adventure are represented in shaded, alternating light and dark hues by illustrator Susan Detwiler. A large, two-faced page map represents the world's plates - Eurasian, North American, South American, and additional locations.

Pandas' Earthquake Escape teaches about nature's threats to their well-being, and a mother's protection of her cub. The pictures call out to be touched, especially the black and white fur of the wondrous pandas. A true-life earthquake occurred in May of 2008 at the Wolong Panda Reserve marking the scale at 7.9 in Northern China.

In the Pages-April 2010

I always look forward to this great set of new books!

Arbordale has sent me these five new titles that will really "beef up" your science and math curriculum. In case you don't know - Arbordale's website is just FULL of wonderful teaching activities, related websites, and "For Creative Minds" a wonderful educational section for each book.

Panda's Earthquake Escape by Phyllis Perry and illustrated by Susan Detwiler is a fictional story that is based on a real-life event. This is about a panda from the Wolong Panda Reserve in China and when an earthquake rocked that area this little guy escaped. What an interesting story - and learning from a natural disaster - great idea!!

Thanks, Arbordale, for another set of wonderful books to use in our classrooms and homes - our library will be thrilled to share these with our community! - April 13, 2010

There is a wonderful series of books from Arbordale Publishing that mixes animal stories with science and math. The books have nice bright illustrations (some better than others), and include interesting facts, questions and tests for readers, even help for teachers who want to incorportate the books into lesson plans.And they recommend related Web sites.

"Panda's Earthquake Escape" by Phyllis J. Perry, illustrated by Susan Detwiler. Based on the 2008 killer earthquake that destroyed a lot of China's buildings including the Wolong Panda Reserve, the story follows a mom and her baby as they struggle to survive in the aftermath.
- Carol Bicak, Omaha World-Herald Book Reviwer

Home School Book Review

Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Pandas' Earthquake Escape (published in 2010 by Arbordale Publishing, 612 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite A2, Mount Pleasant, SC  29464).  Pandas are perennial favorites for kids at the zoo.  And earthquakes seem to be increasingly mentioned in the news.  So, if you were a panda, what would you do during an earthquake?  Liling and and her one-year-old cub Tengfei are two giant pandas which live in a Chinese nature preserve.  One day they are awakened with a start when the tree in which they are napping begins to sway.  It is an earthquake.  The wall around the nature preserve has come crashing down, and they are so frightened that they escape into the forest.  But where will they go?  What will they eat?  And will they ever be able to find their way home?

This book is a fictional story based on a real-life event when a giant panda escaped from the destroyed Wolong Panda Preserve following the 7.9 Sichuan earthquake of 2008 in northern China.  Author Phyllis J. Perry’s text teaches children about earthquakes and giant pandas, explaining animal survival and a mother’s instinct to protect its offspring.  And Susan Detwiler’s colorful illustrations will help young readers follow the action.  In the back is the “For Creative Minds” education section, with further information about giant pandas and earthquakes, including a world map showing the fault lines where major earthquakes occur.  There are also “Related Websites,” “Interactive Math, Reading, and Comprehension Quizzes,” and “Teaching Activities” on Arbordale’s website. Pandas’ Earthquake Escape is a wonderful resource for learning more about two important aspects of natural history.

Feathered Quill Book Reviews - Mar 2010

The young panda Tengfei, and his mother, Liling were fast asleep high up in a tree. Suddenly, the tree began to sway, the ground started to rumble, and soon, the branches the frightened pandas clung to, began to break. The two giant pandas fell to the earth, landing unharmed upon the broken branches and leaves. As the ground continued to rumble, mother and son fled their enclosure and raced off into the vast woods beyond.

Panda’s Earthquake Escape is the story of two giant pandas who wander through the forest after an earthquake, looking for food and seeking shelter. Tengfei clings to his mother as they roam through strange new places, searching out plant bulbs to quiet their grumbling stomachs. The bulbs satisfy him, but Tengfei really wants the tasty bamboo shoots that he is given back at the reserve. He wants to go home!

One of the newest offerings from Arbordale Publishing, Panda’s Earthquake Escape does an excellent job of educating young readers about the plight of pandas in their native China. While enjoying a wonderfully illustrated story, readers will learn about the habitat and behavior of pandas.

In the back of the book are several pages offering additional information. There are facts about endangered giant pandas, a life cycle sequencing activity, fun facts, an overview of earthquakes, including information on a 2008 earthquake in China that destroyed the Wolong Panda Reserve. Finally, there is a world map detailing various earthquake locations.

Quill says: Panda’s Earthquake Escape is a fun way to learn about pandas while enjoying a gentle tale about these amazing animals.

Canadian Teacher Magazine - Mar 2010

To help teachers explain the recent earthquake tragedies to children, Arbordale has posted Pandas’ Earthquake Escape e-book on their homepage free for the month of March. Pandas’ Earthquake Escape written by Phyllis Perry with illustrations by Susan Detwiler follows the adventures of a mother panda and her cub as they struggle to survive outside the comfort of their reserve for several days after the devastating earthquake that hit China two years ago. A 6-page non-fiction educational section is provided at the back of the book, helping children understand the shifting plates and dynamic earth forces at work, and a 50-page cross-curricular Teaching Activities section is available online. To read Pandas’ Earthquake Escape, click on the cover image under the March Feature on the home page at

Tundraco: A Resource Guide for Rockhounds - September 2015

In the Pandas' Earthquake Escape, Phyllis J. Perry uses the backdrop of the very real events of the Great Sichuan Earthquake to teach young readers not only about earthquakes, and pandas, but also about animal survival instincts and the steps that humans are taking to try to ensure that the giant pandas never become extinct. While the backdrop of the story is based in fact, the actual story is fictional. It is also uplifting and thrilling, and not in the least depressing.

Cute and cuddly looking, pandas are beloved by both young and old. As such, they are a perfect foil to engage readers' attention as they learn about both pandas and earthquakes in the Pandas' Earthquake Escape. This marvelous 32-page children's picture book is geared toward children ages 4-8. It follows the adventures of LiLing and her cub, Tengfei as they live through the earthquake and are forced to flee from their panda sanctuary, which was destroyed due to the earthquake. The story shows the steps that the pandas had to take in order to survive outside of their normal environment, and how it came about that they eventually returned to their old home.