The DFF Book Club

Whenever I find another book by Oda Taro, I get very excited. He (at least, I think the author is a “he” — I haven’t been able to find ANY information about “him”) writes and illustrates short stories about Panda — a “child” who uses ordinary household objects to help him on his imaginative adventures.

Oda Taro books
I have three books so far, but I believe there are twelve in this series.

Taro’s books take Panda on journeys through perilous circumstances, but Panda always makes it back home safely to his mother, who is usually waiting with something nice to eat. It’s a friendly way to model imaginative play.

Taro’s simple illustration is reminiscent of Dick Bruin’s style, but not quite as annoying. He uses bright, solid colours and clean backgrounds. But the beauty of his illustrations is that they don’t match the text. The script takes the reader into Panda’s imaginary world while the drawing opposite shows the reality of what Panda is doing.

Oda Taro books
From Panda the Soldier — the dragon is a balloon with a fierce face drawn onto it.

Oda Taro books
From Panda the Doctor — so realistic...

Oda Taro books
From Panda the Explorer — I love that the drawings show the simple household objects which allows the child/reader to imagine according to the narrative.

And just when you think these are fantastic, it gets better!

Oda Taro books
A short game is presented at the end of each book, promoting extra interaction between the reader and child.

These are out of print, so look out for them in garage sales and secondhand stores and grab them whenever you can!