Zen Shorts

Overview

"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 Addie 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 ...
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Overview

"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 Addie 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.

When Stillwater the bear moves into the neighborhood, the stories he tells to three siblings teach them to look at the world in new ways.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Jon. J. Muth combines stunning illustrations and spare language to deliver three classic Zen stories of enlightenment and love. In this extraordinary picture book, based on Buddhist teachings, three siblings view the world differently when a giant panda moves into the neighborhood and tells each of them an amazing tale. This unique and beautiful book offers real-life lessons in a gentle way -- and will foster thoughtful discussions about how we should treat ourselves and others.
From The Critics
Stillwater, a panda with a calm, Buddha-like demeanor (and appealingly chubby physique) moves into the neighborhood, bringing companionship and wisdom to two brothers and a sister. In translucent watercolor scenes, their friendship unfolds amid shared tea and cake, paper airplanes, and Stillwater's gentle retelling of three Zen tales. Not for Buddhists only, this beautifully written and illustrated story touches ever-so-lightly on universal themes such as forgiveness, acceptance, and generosity. (ages 6 to 8)
Child magazine's Best Children's Book Awards 2005
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-Beautifully illustrated in two distinct styles, this book introduces readers to a Zen approach to the world, wrapped in a story about three siblings and their new neighbor, a panda. One by one, the children visit Stillwater, enjoying his company and listening to him tell a brief tale that illustrates a Zen principle. Each time, there is a link between the conversation shared by Stillwater and his visitor and the story he tells; it's somewhat tenuous in regard to the two older siblings, quite specific in the case of Karl, the youngest. The tales invite the children to consider the world and their perceptions from a different angle; for Karl, the panda's story gently but pointedly teaches the benefits of forgiveness. Richly toned and nicely detailed watercolors depict the "real world" scenes, while those accompanying the Zen lessons employ black lines and strokes on pastel pages to create an interesting blend of Western realism and more evocative Japanese naturalism. Taken simply as a picture book, Zen Shorts is interesting and visually lovely. As an introduction to Zen, it is a real treat, employing familiar imagery to prod children to approach life and its circumstances in profoundly "un-Western" ways. An author's note discusses the basic concept of Zen and details the sources of Stillwater's stories. Appealing enough for a group read-aloud, but also begging to be shared and discussed by caregiver and child, Zen Shorts is a notable achievement.-Coop Renner, Hillside Elementary, El Paso, TX Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Limpidly beautiful watercolors and a wry, puckish gentleness mark these three Zen stories, one for each of three children. Michael, Karl and Addy discover a giant panda in their backyard. ("He spoke with a slight panda accent.") His name is Stillwater, and he tells Addy the tale of his Uncle Ry, who gave the robber who could find nothing to steal in his house his own tattered robe. (The robber, in the black-and-white illustrations that mark the three stories, is a raccoon.) When Michael comes to visit, he climbs a tree to sit with Stillwater, who tells the story of the farmer's luck. Karl comes to visit carrying too much stuff for Stillwater's wading pool, and hears just the right story for him. The pictures are as full of peace and solace-and humor-as the text: The title page has the panda dancing in a pair of oversize shorts; the cake Addy brings for tea has a stalk of bamboo in it for Stillwater; Karl and the panda bow to each other at the end of their day. The Buddha lurks in the details here: Every word and image comes to make as perfect a picture book as can be. (author's note) (Picture book. 5-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9787544242615
  • Publisher: Nan Hai Chu Ban Gong Si
  • Publication date: 10/28/2009
  • Language: Chinese
  • Product dimensions: 9.80 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Jon J Muth has written and illustrated many enchanting picture books, including his Caldecott Honor Book ZEN SHORTS and its sequel, the NEW YORK TIMES bestselling picture book ZEN TIES. Other beloved titles from Jon include THE THREE QUESTIONS, GERSHON'S MONSTER by Eric Kimmel, and THE CHRISTMAS MAGIC by Lauren Thompson. Muth lives in upstate New York with his wife and five children.
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