Zen Shorts

Author(s): Jon J. Muth

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"Michael," said Karl. "There's a really big bear in the backyard." This is how three children meet Stillwater, a giant panda who moves into the neighborhood and tells amazing tales. To Addy he tells a story about the value of material goods. To Michael he pushes the boundaries of good and bad. And to Karl he demonstrates what it means to hold on to frustration. With graceful art and simple stories that are filled with love and enlightenment, Jon Muth -- and Stillwater the bear -- present three ancient Zen tales that are sure to strike a chord in everyone they touch.

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Booklist StarredGillian Engberg (Booklist, Mar. 1, 2005 (Vol. 101, No. 13))Like The Three Questions (2002), Muth's latest is both an accessible, strikingly illustrated story and a thought-provoking meditation. Here he incorporates short Buddhist tales, "Zen Shorts," into a story about three contemporary children. One rainy afternoon, a giant panda appears in the backyard of three siblings. Stillwater, the Panda, introduces himself, and during the next few days, the children separately visit him. Stillwater shares an afternoon of relaxing fun with each child; he also shares Zen stories, which give the children new views about the world and about each other. Very young listeners may not grasp the philosophical underpinnings of Stillwater's tales, but even kids who miss the deeper message will enjoy the spare, gentle story of siblings connecting with one another. Lush, spacious watercolors of charming Stillwater and the open neighborhood will entrance children, as will the dramatic black-and-white pictures of the comical animal characters that illustrated Stillwater's Zen stories. Muth doesn't list sources for the tales, but his author's note offers more commentary about Zen. Stillwater's questions will linger (Can misfortune become good luck? What is the cost of anger?), and the peaceful, uncluttered pictures, like the story itself, will encourage children to dream and fill in their own answers. Category: Books for the Young--Fiction. 2005, Scholastic, $16.95. K-Gr. 3. Starred Review Horn Book (Horn Book Guide, Fall 2005)Three Zen stories are woven into a contemporary frame story when Stillwater, a talking panda, meets three young children. The panda narrates a story to fit each child's mood. The "shorts" are illustrated with quick black brush strokes, white forms, and pale backgrounds, while the children and Stillwater live in a tranquil watercolor world. An author's note provides background information. Category: Picture Books. 2005, Scholastic, 4

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General Fields

  • : 9780439339117
  • : Scholastic, Incorporated
  • : Scholastic, Incorporated
  • : 0.56699
  • : March 2005
  • : 279mm X 267mm
  • : United States
  • : August 2004
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Jon J. Muth
  • : Hardback
  • : 1
  • : Jon J. Muth
  • : English
  • : E
  • : Children's - Kindergarten, Age 5-6
  • : 2003020471
  • : 40
  • : Colour