Peter Panda Melts Down!

Peter PandaPeter Panda Melts Down!
by Artie Bennett
Publisher: Blue Apple Books, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-60905-411-3                                                     For ages: 2-7


“Uh-oh. Here it comes. Here comes that frown. Peter Panda melts dowwwnnn!”

Poor Peter Panda. He’s only three and filled with frustration. And when things don’t quite go his way, he’s apt to throw a tantrum—in the car, in the library, in the supermarket, in the . . . He’s the most meltdownable panda we know. Poor Mama Panda. How can she cope with Peter’s petulance while seeking to sidestep the mother of all meltdowns herself!? What’s a mama panda to do? Read this adorable new picture book by Artie Bennett, author of the much-lauded The Butt Book and Poopendous!, and virtuoso illustrator John Nez and find out!


“I’m kicking off my return to reviewing books on this blog with a new title from author Artie Bennett. I’ve reviewed a few of his hilarious non-fiction offerings in the past, so I’m excited to review his new title, a rhyming fiction picture book. I love Bennett’s dexterity with rhyming text. His lines are always a joy to read, and they roll off the tongue like in the best of rhyming picture books. This particular story also includes a fun, repeatable refrain: ‘Uh-oh. Here it comes. Here comes that frown. Peter Panda melts dowwwwnnn!’ It’s a line that will be tons of fun for young readers to recite during the story. I couldn’t help smiling whenever Peter began to have one of his meltdowns, as they feel so genuine in how they occur. Peter apologizing for making his mom melt down rings very true, too. Nez’s illustrations, which are big and bright, depict the action of the story along with the text, giving this title great potential for read-alouds and one-on-one sharing with a child. I’ll be using this title in story times for sure. I’ll also include it in book displays at ECRR and other parent story time workshops, as this would be a great title for parents to share with their kids to talk about feelings and work through difficulties transitioning between activities.” —The Show Me Librarian

This was such a very cute children’s book! This story follows Peter Panda and his Mom as they carry out their daily activities. Peter is having somewhat of a bad day and the story tells about how Peter’s Mom reacts to each situation. Peter tends to have ‘melt downs’ when things don’t go his way. I have read it to my son over and over! He loves it! I read it up until the part where ‘Peter Panda melts dowwwwwwnnn’ and then my son likes to read that part! I loved how the story is really similar to real life. As I read the story, my son giggled and said ‘Mommie, do I sound like that sometimes?’ HA! My answer to that was YES! The illustrations were so cute and colorful. I loved how the illustrator portrays safety throughout the book as well. Peter is buckled in his car seat and his Mom advises him that they will pick up his dropped toy when the car is stopped and they have arrived at their destination. I like how this enforces the importance of safety. The illustrator also draws Peter safely in his shopping cart. I just truly loved this story. At the end of the day, Peter Panda realizes how he has been acting and apologizes to his Mom! I just thought that was so sweet! This book was a perfect example of how actions and consequences affect everyone including moms and their kids.” —Curling Up with a Good Book

“What a sweet little book. Peter Panda may be having a meltdown, but I’ve never seen one look so cute! If it isn’t already obvious, it was the illustrations that initially made me want to check out this book. Even on my iPad, the illustrations were big, bright, and perfectly matched the lines on the page. Kudos to Jon Nez! The rhyming scheme is spot on for beginning readers, and the repetition of Peter Panda’s meltdowns make it easy to follow along. Young readers might even see a little of themselves in Peter as they read. After all, meltdowns happen! This has the potential to be an excellent parent/child read.”  —Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile

Great Book! “All parents can relate to a child having a tantrum. And many children have also experienced a parent having a temper or mini meltdown, but there hasn’t been a picture book that explains it in story and picture quite like Peter Panda Melts Down!Children and parents alike will enjoy the fun way author Artie Bennett shows just how silly having a meltdown can be. Peter Panda wants a treat at the store even when Mamma says no . . . oh no, a meltdown. He wants to keep playing on the playground and it is time to go . . . oh no, a meltdown. And so it goes for many more things that Peter wants to do and he can’t. What do you do when you can’t have your way? This cute story lets kids and parents alike know that even with a meltdown, love still wins and kisses and smiles make it better somehow. Entertaining and educational, this well-done story will open the discussion between parent and child about better ways to handle being upset. Great job, A. Bennett, another important book for children.”  —Terri Forehand

“Looks like Artie Bennett did it again! This is an utterly charming book that had my son and I chuckling and reminiscing about his toddler years. Three year-old Peter Panda spends the day with Mama Panda. But for little Peter Panda, little frustrations can cause a meltdown, like wanting that goodie at the supermarket checkout or not wanting to leave the playground when it’s time to go or having to share that library book? Can you parents relate? Oh yes! Tantrums are a daily part of toddler life, and we remember them well. I love the way Bennett uses humour, rhyme and creative prose to bring to life those memorable years. And when Mama Panda has had enough, well, I could relate to that for sure! It’s clear there is affection and love between parent and child even though there is frustration. I think this just adds to the message that love is patient but we’re not perfect, and that parenting is hard sometimes. My son, who is ten, found this book adorable along with its super cute illustrations. They were perfect for this story. Peter Panda is cuddly, but when he gets upset and begins to frown, well we just had to laugh, it was so cute. My son was also very pleased that the author signed and addressed the book to him. We read and re-read this book and my son got out his other two books by Bennett: Poopendous! and The Butt Book and re-read them too. Usually, he passes on the children’s books that he’s read or that he reviewed with me, but Bennett’s books are part of his collection. He is now eagerly waiting for Bennett’s fourth book Belches, Burps and FartsOh My! Now doesn’t that sound like just the right book for young boy readers? Actually, any reader with a good sense of humour because Bennett’s books are the perfect medicine for gloomy moods.” —Library of Clean Reads

Here’s a book just out, perfect for the younger ones! “Obviously, Artie Bennett has a great sense of humor, even for the pre-school kids! I loved his earlier book, Poopendous!, as did all the kids at my school! I can’t wait to share this with my young granddaughters, and then the primary students. Teachers will love it too! This story shows dear Peter Panda having a few meltdowns, and then working his way through the day with a little help from his mama, and unfortunately “more” meltdowns. Since I have some grandchildren, I know exactly what “meltdowns” are all about, and they usually happen with their mama, too. Written in rhyme, this has some action for everyone, at the grocery and library, at dinner and bathtime! ‘Don’t carry on, Peter. It’s such a nice day. / If you simmer down, we’ll go somewhere to play.’ I love the sweet pictures, yes, ‘sweet,’ by John Nez, of all the young animals throughout, especially at the park, and then of dear Peter. Young kids have such exciting things happening in their lives, and to stop them takes real self-control. Even mamas need a bit of it now and then. It’s a very fun read!” —TeacherDance

“Young children’s books are tales of wisdom and whimsy. They can evoke strong emotions and will often use beautiful imagery, rhymes, and a straight-forward format to tell their tale. These features are all used excellently in Peter Panda Melts Down!
Peter Panda is a young lad who spends his days with Mama Panda, running errands, visiting the library, and playing in the park. For a panda of three years old, life seems pretty good. But Peter is quite a headstrong panda who appears to have never outgrown those ‘terrible twos.’ Mama Panda is a hard-working and loving mother who faces the daily gauntlet of parenthood with her fussy Peter in tow. She tries her hardest to raise Peter with kindness and good values in his heart, even when he’d rather throw another strop in the supermarket. Artie’s work is simply charming. Peter Panda Melts Down! is a story that any young child will love to have read to them. It features an important message for them about loving our parents and learning to listen. Children, even young ones around two and three years old, will learn to appreciate their own ‘Mama Pandas’ all the more. For parents, at the end of a long day, Peter Panda Melts Down! is a refreshing and honest look at parenthood that will no doubt have them smiling at their own children’s behavior (yes, including those temper-tantrums!). It reminds us all that being a parent is a full-time job, with plenty of overtime, and often a really cranky ‘boss.’ However, it’s also extremely rewarding and this story teaches us all to be a little more patient with those little ones. For parents, for young children, or for picture book aficionados, Peter Panda Melts Down! will make a welcome addition to your collection. Peter Panda Melts Down! is a lovely, warm-hearted look at the trials and tribulations of parenthood. I highly recommend it to any families with youngsters, especially in the 2-4 age range!” —The Reading Nook Reviews

“The wonderful Artie Bennett contacted me to see if I would be interested in reviewing his latest children’s book and I jumped at the chance. This book was perfect timing to help my sister with my nephew—he’s at just the right age for this book (approx ages 3-5). I brought this book with me during a family visit and my nephew was so excited to get a new book and it had pandas! We immediately sat down to snuggle and read through the book. The writing is perfect for reading out loud with fun voices and excitement. It reminds me of reading a Robert Munsch book out loud. The ending is funny and cute—though I think the adults reading this will laugh more than the children. But it makes perfect sense and is exactly what I think many adults feel like when dealing with a child that has meltdowns. The illustrations by John Nez are enjoyable and fun. I love the style and simplicity to it. And my nephew loved pointing to all the things that Peter was doing, like pointing out the icky peas. Overall, this was a fun read and it was also a great way to teach my nephew about his meltdowns and how they will not get you what you want. It also shows him a perspective of what it’s like to see someone else melt down (you’ll have to see the last page of the book to know what I mean). I adore Artie’s books and am looking forward to his next silly creation—Belches, Burps and Farts, Oh My! Thank you, Artie, for sharing such fun books with the world.” —Snowdrop Dreams of Books

Peter Panda Melts Down! by Artie Bennett is pretty much self-explanatory when one gets a look at the title. This is not the story of a snowman. Rather, it takes a humorous look into the world of temper tantrums. While Bennett might be the writer of this delightful book, John Nez takes on the responsibility for providing illustrations in plenty of colors. While black and white are rather obvious choices, basics such as red, blue, brown, and green help to make the book an engrossing selection as well as holding on to a person’s attention. Together, they provide enjoyment for readers as well as some useful advice on dealing with toddlers who may not always be perfect angels. Peter, Bennett’s main character, is a child who is happy in life. However, sometimes there are things which happen during a given day to upset him. At three, Peter hasn’t got the maturity to see this is no big deal. So, what does he do? Frustration is the easiest solution and, therefore, a meltdown takes place. Bennett has enough common sense not to go into many details regarding what this little furball says or does during his most rage filled moments. Instead, readers are simply shown crankiness has occurred. Facial expressions will be easy to spot. Words on a given page have exploded into massive screaming announcements of the impending crisis. Is this pure toddler behavior? Of course, but there’s more to the story than just what one sees on the page. Whether or not a person is a parent, reading until the very end is a requirement. There are factors at work beyond simple bratty frustration. The notes on the back flap are especially entertaining. Both author and illustrator provide details of subjects which make them cranky at the very least. An endearing selection no matter who reads this book.” —Blogcritics

Peter Panda Melts Down! is another cute and funny book by Artie Bennett with wonderful illustrations by John Nez. I did have to explain to my 3-year-old what meltdown actually meansshe thought he was just getting down. It’s funny because she has meltdowns ALL THE TIME, but we don’t tell her that’s what they are called, so at first she was confused. She still loved the book! Short, short summary: Peter Panda is a toddler. He has meltdowns–ALL THE TIME! If you have ever lived with a toddler, you will see how realistic this book is, and yes, it is possible to have this many meltdowns in one day. But my favorite part of this book and one that is OH-SO-TRUE–when Mama Panda melts down because she’s had enough! So, what do I do with this book? 1. My daughter and I discussed the problems Peter was having and the way he was reacting. This is a great book to use with her age group because kids can see what is going on with Peter Panda and that he is reacting in a sad way each time. Children at this age have such a hard time understanding their feelings, and so this book helps them to see feelings and in a non-threatening way–with a cute, loveable panda bear. So, use this book to discuss meltdowns with your child or preschool classroom! 2. Ask children: Why does Mama Panda have a meltdown? Why is she sad and frustrated? Then discuss with them other ways that both Peter and Mama could have solved their problems. 3. The repetition in this book is great for read-alouds and for children who are starting to read on their own. Children can also echo read the repeatable portion: ‘Uh-oh. Here it comes. Here comes that frown. Peter Panda melts dowwwwwnn!’” —Margo Dill

Perfect Picture Book Friday! “Peter Panda is a good little cub, but he gets VERY upset when things don’t go his way, or if he loses something, or if he has to do something he doesn’t want to do, or if . . . well, you get the idea. Mama Panda is very patient, but even the best Mamas sometimes have enough! This is a very cute book that I think young kids will really enjoy. Peter Panda is very cute, and understandable. Mr. Bennett’s story really shows a toddler meltdown very well! I think a lot of parents will relate to this book. I think the illustrator really captures the emotions on the Panda family. I also like the twist at the end of the story. I actually laughed out loud! I also like that Mama Panda throws a tantrum. That was hysterical. My mom told me that once I put her in timeout when I was a toddler because she got frustrated and yelled. I think kids will love this book. Mr. Bennett has done it again, even though he left his normally scheduled train to write this book. He wrote the VERY awesome Butt Book and Poopendous! I got to meet Mr. Bennett at a book signing I was at. It’s so nice when you meet an author and he turns out to be a really great guy. He also promised me that he will get back to the important stuff with a book about burps and farts that comes out in July.” —This Kid Reviews Books

“Peter Panda is a typical toddler, happy one minute, throwing a tantrum to get what he wants the next. That’s part of what makes Peter Panda Melts Down! such a great picture book for parents to read with their young children. They can see themselves in Peter’s situations, and maybe laugh a bit about all the drama. As Peter and his mom go about their daily lives, they do things like go to the grocery store, visit the library and stop by the playground. At each stop, Peter is happy for a while, but then when something happens like he drops a toy in the car, or asks for sweets he can’t have at the grocery store, or has to leave the playground, he melts down. Mama Panda is very patient . . . most of the time. Author Artie Bennett has captured the ups and down that make getting through days with a toddler so difficult sometimes, and he’s done it with humor. Reading the book is a great way for parents and kids to look at all those situations during calm moments and possibly talk about what to expect the next time they happen. Illustrations by John Nez do a great job of capturing the expressions to go along with the emotions expressed in each setting. It all comes together to make Peter Panda Melts Down! a book to read again and again.” —Mother Daughter Book Club

“Three-year-old Peter Panda is a good boy, but when he gets frustrated or things don’t go his way, he starts to melt down! Artie Bennett tells the adorable and relatable tale of little Peter and his Mama, as they go about their busy day filled with fun, shopping, toys, and little meltdowns. Peter Panda Melts Down!captures the life and essence of toddlers perfectly! Told in simple yet addicting rhymes, with the fun, repeating ‘Uh-oh. Here it comes. Here comes that frown. Peter Panda melts dowwwnnn!’ Peter Panda Melts Down!will make little readers laugh out loud and have them excitedly awaiting each meltdown. Artie Bennett takes us along on Peter and Mama’s day as they grocery shop, play at the park, go to the library, and prepare for bed. Each new scene and setting will capture the attention of tiny readers with their familiarity and make for the perfect meltdown situations. Little ones will love super cute, super meltdownable Peter, while adult readers will sympathize with poor Mama . . . especially when Mama herself has a bit of an understandable meltdown! John Nez’s illustrations are bright and charming, with great texture and colors. Nez really brings Bennett’s clever story to life! Peter Panda Melts Down! is a book that will entertain and captivate little readers, while amusing parents with its humorous approach to an incredibly relatable situation.” Word Spelunking

“Artie Bennett has either done his homework very well or happens to know a little boy just like his main character, Peter Panda, because he’s captured him to a T (for temperamental)! In Bennett’s latest picture book, Peter Panda Melts Down!, we meet the meltdown king, a three-year-old who tends to lose it, so to speak, when he doesn’t get his way. We’ve all witnessed or personally dealt with children’s temper tantrums, but Peter’s are presented with such finesse as Bennett’s characters are wont to, that the humor is not lost on the parent reader. When Peter sets his sights on a chocolate bar at the supermarket and mama firmly says “No!” young Peter Panda melts “dowwwwnnn!” When he has to leave the playground sooner than he wants . . .

Here it comes.
Here comes that frown.
Peter Panda melts dowwwwnnn!

Peter Panda’s typical toddler reactions are expected, but funny nonetheless and part of the reason is Bennett’s tight writing and relatable examples, but the other part is because of John Nez’s expressive illustrations. They’re not over-the-top and they’re not too simple, they’re just right. And despite being such high maintenance, Peter Panda’s precious, too. Little ones will just love the assortment of situations Peter Panda faces that he just can’t handle. From his dinnertime drama to his bathtime boo-hoos to his bedtime brouhaha, Peter Panda’s meltdowns make for entertaining reading. While throughout the day, a very understanding Mama Panda has remained calm and in total control, Peter Panda’s final flexing of his toddler muscles makes Mama Panda melt down, too! There’s nothing like a good laugh to open the floodgates of discussion and parents will certainly find reading Peter Panda Melts Down! a great way to get the tantrum conversation started . . . that is, unless your child melts dowwwwnnn, too!” —Good Reads with Ronna

“It was a pleasure to be contacted by Artie Bennett, the author of Peter Panda Melts Down! I was excited to read his new picture book, curious to see how the book differed from his past humorous, nonfiction books. I met a precious little panda character that is having a pretty terrible day. He happened to be captured by Artie in the height of trying circumstances for his mom. As a mom who has dealt with more than a few trying days when my son was little, I really appreciated sitting back and reading this book with my son. Hilarious to read through to the conclusion. My son insisted on reading it aloud and emphasizing the repeated lines and said WHAT and laughed when we came to the ending. I highly recommend this book for parents who have little ones who enjoy wonderful rhythmic books with fun lines. This book begs to be reread! I also see kindergarten children enjoying this read-aloud and using it as inspiration for writing projects as well.” —The Styling Librarian

“April has finally brought us a few nice days and we have been outside every moment possible. Getting all of this much missed fresh air has made for some exciting and exhausting days that have ended in a few melt downs. We have definitely been cooped up inside for too long! Peter Panda Melts Down! has been my go-to story to read the kids lately. This is a story about a three-year-old panda, Peter. He is mostly a good little panda. However, he often gets frustrated, and when Peter gets frustrated . . . he melts down! How does Mama Panda handle these meltdowns? Panda Melts Down! may be a little less silly than author Artie Bennett’s last couple of books, but he still manages to find humor in the not-so-pleasant moments in life such as the dreaded temper tantrum. When your little one gets frustrated, meltdowns may occur. When Mama Panda finally has a meltdown of her very own, I could not help but laugh out loud. I think all parents have had one of those days when they would love nothing more than to have their own meltdown. When the mood strikes, I just try to hold it together until they are all tucked in bed and I can have that much-deserved glass of wine! Peter Panda Melts Down! has great illustrations and a story filled with everyday tasks that can become quite stressful for parents when their children melt down. This children’s book is a great story to use as a way to open up conversation about behavior. Peter Panda has helped us talk about choices and even learn to laugh at ourselves!” The Children’s Nook

“Peter Panda is just a bit spoiled. Okay, maybe more than just a bit. When he doesn’t get his way, he melts down!Artie Bennett is a gracious author who writes good books, so it’s always fun to review his latest. This one caught my heart because my very first bear was a panda bear. It has no hair, its tale is hanging by a thread and one ear is missing, but he’s still mine. He lives in my hope chest now. I still love him.This book has been published, so check with your local bookstore to pick up a copy. Maybe you have a panda lover in your family, too.I think Peter is related to the little girl across the street. She cries to high heaven whenever she doesn’t get her way or thinks she’s been hurt. Peter has melt downs, too. Little ones can be very vocal about their perceived grievances. Peter’s Mom was way more patient than I would be. She deals with all the drama until it’s time for bed. Then she has her meltdown. . . .If you have a small fussy one, this book will talk to you. Peter is learning his boundaries and what he can and can’t do. Maybe your little one can learn from him.The illustrations by John Nez are special, too. These pandas are fuzzy and look huggable. They go great with Mr. Bennett’s story. Take a look. I bet you take it home.” —The Book Faerie

“Peter Panda is three years old and learning to be more independent. Sometimes he tries things that do not work out; other times he has to stop when he may not be ready. Of course, at three Peter does not always want to do what Mama tells him right away. As we read along, the catchy rhyme and rhythm of the book, we see that a behavior pattern often shows up. The illustrations by John Nez take us into the world of Peter Panda and beautifully capture the buildup of his meldowns. Of course, the ending of the book (no spoilers here), made me nod and smile even morethank you, Artie! As soon as I saw the title of the book, I was intrigued. As the mother of a child with autism, I look at meltdowns very differently, thanks to sensory overload. I was curious how this book could be used by families as a tool. Many children with autism do well with social stories that assist them with coping strategies. On the flip side, as a teacher, I was curious how this book could be used with a preschool set (or older) to talk about how to handle friends if they are melting down, how to calm yourself down, and of course how to use your words. It’s easy to ask a child how they would handle the situation compared to Peter Panda. My thoughts are that sweet little Peter will help many children and families to work on meltdowns. Mama often uses positive reinforcement with Peter, and this is a huge help with young children. In addition to this, Artie Bennett also has Mama use “If/Then” statements to Peter after he has a meltdown. This strategy has been used in helping our son and others on the autism spectrum. I have a feeling Peter Panda and his Mama will help a lot of young children learn a things or two when they read his tale. FYI, we cannot wait for Artie Bennett’s next book coming out in August. Yes, my classy family will likely love Belches, Burps, and FartsOh My!” —The Angel Forever


Teacher’s Guide

About the Author

Artie Bennett is the executive copy editor for a children’s book publisher and he writes a little on the side (but not the backside!). Artie, who would be hailed as “the Dr. Seuss of your caboose,” wrote The Butt Book, his first “mature” work, which was published in 2010. The Butt Book was showered with praise and won the prestigious Reuben Award for Book Illustration. His “number two” picture book, fittingly, was entitled Poopendous! What more fertile topic could there be but poop! Poopendous! earned a bumper crop of great reviews, including this one in the Huffington Post: “For anyone who loved The Butt Book, you must immediately go and buy Artie Bennett’s follow-up, Poopendous! It appears there is no topic Mr. Bennett can’t make funny and educational.” The Show Me Librarian weighed in with: “Bennett’s use of rhyme is excellent; his stanzas flow and exude joviality in a manner that few writers since Dr. Seuss have truly mastered. Simply put, these books are a joy.” His third picture book, the much-anticipated Peter Panda Melts Down!, illustrated by the virtuosic artist John Nez, published in February 2014. Artie was the youngest (at age thirteen) person to originate and sell a crossword puzzle to the New York Times. He went on to sell several dailies and two large Sunday puzzles to the Times before he began college. It’s been downhill ever since. He and his wife, Leah, live deep in the bowels of Brooklyn, New York, where he spends his spare time moving his car to satisfy the rigorous demands of alternate-side-of-the-street parking and shaking his fist at his neighbors. He is pleased to share the visionary promise of The Butt Book, Poopendous!, Peter Panda Melts Down! and Belches, Burps, and Farts—Oh My!  Visit . . . before someone else does!
Author’s website

School Visit Information

Artie loves to share his hilarious and educational picture books with schoolchildren. His books can be used to jumpstart a discussion on many nature-themed topics. He can read his books aloud and/or give a PowerPoint presentation filled with fascinating information. His appearances are always highly interactive and engage children at all levels.

“Thank you for the absolutely delightful assembly at Maple Shade Elementary School.
The children adored the presentation! Poopendous! is infused with a delightful use of
rhyme, onomatopoeia, remarkable facts, and extraordinary illustrations that kept the children mesmerized throughout the entirety of your appearance. As an educator, I love it. The story serves as a fabulous starting point for language arts, science, math, and cultural diversity.”
—Susan Cramer, Reading Specialist, Maple Shade Elementary School, Pennsylvania

“Artie Bennett educates and delights at the same time. Students are on the edge of their seats and engaged during his appearances. Written in verse, his texts lend themselves well to science, poetry, creative writing, and multiple cross-curricular connections. Mr. Bennett is an engaging speaker and hands fly high whenever he opens the floor for questions.”
—Amy Althoff, Literacy Coordinator, Explore Charter Schools

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