As you might know, my latest Magic Tree House, #48, A Perfect Day with Pandas came out this summer, along with my sister Natalie Pope Boyce’s newest Fact Tracker, Pandas and Other Endangered Species. Natalie always has an expert review her manuscripts to make sure that all her facts are correct, and this time her expert was Brandie Smith, Senior Curator at the National Zoo in Washington, DC.
When Natalie and I recently went down to participate in the National Book Festival in Washington, we scheduled a visit with Brandie at the zoo. Coincidentally, a miraculous event had just occurred at the Panda House there – a baby panda had been born– and no one had known that the mother was pregnant!
It’s no surprise that the mother panda could have been pregnant without showing signs. When a baby panda is born, it is only about six inches long and weighs only three to five ounces. That’s no bigger than a stick of butter! Since a newborn panda is one of the most helpless creatures to ever come into the world, it’s not surprising that most do not survive.