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Early Morning Panda Cub

Page history last edited by Debra Sprague 12 years, 8 months ago

Based off of Mary Pope Osborne’s Magic Tree House Series


Early Morning Panda Cub

by Caitlin W.


“Pssst…Jack, wake up.” Annie whispered to her sleeping brother.

“Ugh, what time is it?” Jack grumbled. “What do you want?”

“I want to go to the tree house. We haven’t been in a really long time and I feel like Morgan might be waiting for us,” murmured Annie.

“We have summer camp today though,” said Jack.

“I know,” said Annie. “But we will be back before we have to leave. C’mon let’s go!”


Annie scurried out of Jack’s room as he rubbed his eyes and put on his glasses. As he was getting dressed he remembered to pack his mini notebook in his pocket that he always took every time he and Annie went on a tree house adventure. He thought about how this was a crazy way to start a Wednesday, but he missed the tree house and seeing Morgan le Fay. Since school had gotten out he and Annie had been busy with summer camp and family vacations. Jack thought this might be the last time before school starts that they could go on another adventure.


 Jack and Annie made the five minute foggy, dewy morning hike to the forest where they climbed up the ladder of the tree house. They were surprised to be greeted by a charming old woman with long beautiful white hair.

            “It has been quite some time,” said Morgan. “I have missed my little Master Librarians.”

            “We’ve missed you too!” Annie said happily. “Do you need our help today?”

            “Yes! The San Diego Zoo in California will need some extra hands today. The mother panda, Bai Yun, is expecting her fifth cub in a little while” said Morgan. “So you had better hurry.”

Morgan handed Jack and Annie each a map that read San Diego Zoo. Before there was any time to ask questions the tree house started to spin. It spun faster and faster until they were finally still and in the middle of an attempted jungle looking cage.


            Annie looked frightened. “I hope we’re not in the lion’s cage,” she whispered to her brother.

Suddenly there was a creaky noise. As Jack and Annie peered over their shoulders they saw a friendly looking woman with long brown hair wearing a white lab coat. She was holding open a door coming out of a fake tree.

            “Welcome friends! You must be Annie and Jack,” the young woman said. “I’m Meg Sutherland-Smith, the zoo’s veterinarian and panda expert.” Jack and Annie smiled and shook her hand. “We need some help with Bai Yun’s observations before she gives birth, so follow me!” said Meg.

Jack and Annie followed Meg behind the door into a big white open room with computers and other high tech looking equipment all over the place. Jack thought it looked like a medical research lab he saw on the Discovery channel. There were tons of people in lab coats hunched around a giant T.V. scribbling in notebooks.  


“These are the other zookeepers tracking Bai Yun’s progress,” said Meg. “We are watching her on the PandaCam.”

Jack and Annie huddled around the other vets to see the T.V. The T.V. was in black and white and was staring down at a big panda bear lying on some straw.

            “She looks like she’s in pain,” said Annie.

            “Well…she is about to have the baby, and sometimes that can be painful,” said Meg. “But this is her fifth baby, so she’s a pro at this now,” winked Meg.

             “Just think, even though the mama panda is so big, her cub will only weigh about four ounces and will be as small as a stick of butter when it’s born.”

Jack took out his mini notebook from his pocket and wrote:

San Diego Zoo     Aug 5, 2009

Baby pandas  = about four ounces

size of stick of butter when born


“Wow!” said Annie. “That could fit in the palm of my hand.”

            “You’re right!” said Meg. “And we won’t be able to tell if it’s a boy or a girl for several weeks. That’s why we are so thrilled to have more hands on deck to help us make observations and take notes.”

Just then there was a loud shrieking coming from the T.V. the PandaCam was hooked up to. All of the zookeepers huddled more closely to get a better look at Bai Yun.


            “Oh boy! Looks like we are about to get a new edition to our zoo!” exclaimed Meg.

Just as Jack and Annie got a view of the T.V. they saw a tiny beige looking creature lying right next to the mama panda and squealing at the top of its lungs. All of the zookeepers started clapping and Meg was jumping up and down cheering, “What a great way to start the day.”

It looks like a baby chipmunk, thought Jack. He took out at notebook and scribbled away:

Bai Yun’s baby panda born early morning August 5, 2009

Small, pink and hairless = looks like chipmunk

Won’t know if boy or girl for several weeks

            Then Annie whispered to him, “Aren’t you glad I woke you up to go to the tree house?”

Comments (1)

Mary J. said

at 9:14 pm on Oct 3, 2011

Nice job Caitlin! I loved these books and read many of them to my children. You really captured the way Jack and Annie dialogue with each other. It is always nice to learn some new facts - I had no idea an infant panda was so tiny. Children might not understand 4 ounces, but they would certainly get teh size reference when comparing to a stick of butter! I'm not sure I'm recalling correctly, but don't Jack and Annie usually play a hero/heroine role of some sort in all their stories? If so, it would have been nice if they had more of a role than observer in the story. (Maybe one of them could go retrieve the cub before mom rolled over in it!) Thanks for the story. MJ

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