Mrs. Harkness and the Panda

Mrs. Harkness and the Panda

Book - 2012
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Traces the story of a 1930s female adventurer who brought America its first panda bear, describing how she inherited a seemingly impossible expedition from her explorer husband and defied period conventions to travel up the Yangtze River and into the wilderness to bring back an adorable panda cub she named Su Lin, which means "a little bit of something cute."
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, c2012.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780375844485
Branch Call Number: J 599.789 Pot
Characteristics: 1 v. (unpaged) : col. ill. ; 29 cm.
Additional Contributors: Sweet, Melissa 1956-- Illustrator


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forbesrachel May 17, 2015

Following the death of her husband, Mrs. Harkness decides to pick up his cause, setting out on an expedition to China. Her goal, to bring a panda back to America (it was thought to be a mythical creature by some at the time!). At every turn concerned parties tried to dissuade her, for women did not do such things in the 1930's. However, Mrs. Harkness was determined, and after much preparation, and with the help of locals like Yang Di Lin, she managed to find one. The baby panda, whom she named Su Lin, garnered the attention, love and concern of the world. This book acts like a journal for this adventure, with scraps of paper pasted in, brightly coloured illustrations of China, maps, and even some stamped postcards from the trip. The story could have been very endearing if the writing wasn't so stilted, still it is a seminal event in the history of conversation, and it does get that point across; the author's note in the back explains why. The panda is one of the cutest animals in the world, and if Mrs. Harkness had not done what she did, they would probably be extinct today. Worth reading for its information.


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