Recommended children's booklists sorted by age or topic

Home > Books > The Midnight Panther


The Midnight Panther

Panther is not like the other cats. Leopard has beautiful spots, Tiger has impressive stripes and Lion has a magnificent mane. Panther is small, shy and dark.

One night he decides to go and find out where in the jungle he really belongs. Finally summoning the courage to scale the treetops, he answers the call of moonlight and ink-black night. Perhaps up among the stars he will find out something about his own strength and beauty.

A stunning fable about courage and finding your place in the world, with beautiful illustrations by Greenaway-shortlisted Poonam Mistry. The perfect gift book.

Our Review Panel says...

Deep in the forest lives a little black panther.  Surrounded by wonder, his life should be idyllic … except that he’s different from the other cats.  They all seem so confident: Tiger has bold, fearless stripes, Lion’s mane shines like the sun and Leopard’s spots are dazzling.  When their taunts overwhelm him, Panther sets off on a quest to improve himself.  At first, he is intent on imitation, until, at last, the moon helps him to discover his own special beauty.

The reader has been able to see this beauty all along, through the intricately detailed illustrations which are influenced by traditional Indian art and textiles.  There’s no need for lengthy descriptions because these fascinating pictures illuminate the scene but the vivid word choices sparkle nevertheless.  This would make a great read-aloud book.  The ending, with its message of courage and self-acceptance, is uplifting and reassuring.

While the rhythm of the fable may be familiar from folklore, the manner of the telling is original and richly pleasurable.  It would fit perfectly into a unit on traditional tales – a literally fabulous model for a journey tale to use in Key Stage 1 or early Key Stage 2.  I can see the book inspiring some wonderful art projects exploring lines, patterns and colour (each spread uses a particular palette), either using different methods of printing or computer programmes.  In maths, there would be possibilities for investigating symmetry and reflection.

With lyrically expressive language, gorgeous illustrations and a simple but empowering message, this is a magical book – one of my favourites of 2022.

This book is available on these booklists:

Booklists you might also like...

Subscribe to our newsletter

Your Review

Stone Girl Bone Girl


Year group(s) the book is most suitable for:

Year group(s) the book is most suitable for:

Does the book contain anything that teachers would wish to know about before recommending in class (strong language, sensitive topics etc.)?

Does the book contain anything that teachers would wish to know about before recommending in class (strong language, sensitive topics etc.)?

Would you recommend the book for use in primary schools?


Curriculum links (if relevant)

Curriculum links (if relevant)

Any other comments

Any other comments