Chee-Kee, A Panda in Bearland
by Sujean Rim
Little, Brown and Company
Chee-Kee is fresh, clear and true. In simple words and drawings, we follow the Loo family of Pandas who arrive at Bearland, looking and living very differently from the bears of Bearland. Chee-Kee, the young son, notices the differences and feels uncomfortable. He tries to change to be less noticeable, but that doesn’t work. He stays alone, until one day a soccer ball gets stuck in a tree. Immediately Chee-Kee begins fashioning a bamboo pole, vaulting up to knock down the ball. Everyone cheers and from then on, the Loo family members fit in just fine and the bears take on new activities brought over by the Loo family.
While this story could be ‘cheesy’, it isn’t. The drawings and story support each other to make it work. The pole vaulting gives a nod to the author’s father who played in the 1960 and 1964 Olympics. There is a richness to the story that seems to come from living through this kind of experience. Cheers to author/illustrator Sujean Rim for crafting this wonderful story.