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Zen shorts /
by Jon J. Muth.
edition
1st ed.
imprint
New York : Scholastic Press, 2005.
description
1 v. (unpaged) : col. ill. ; 29 cm.
ISBN
0439339111
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
author
imprint
New York : Scholastic Press, 2005.
isbn
0439339111
abstract
When Stillwater the giant panda moves into the neighborhood, the stories he tells to three siblings teach them to look at the world in new ways. Includes factual note on Zen.
catalogue key
5926933
A Look Inside
About the Author
BIH Author Biography
Jon J Muth's previous picture books have met with widespread acclaim and are embraced by readers of all ages. His many awards and honors include a Gold Medal from the Society of Hesse. Gershan's Monster by Eric Kimmel received three starred reviews. was named an ALA Notable Children's Book, and was a winner of the Sydney Taylor Award. His own story, The Three Questions, which was based on a short story by Leo Tolstoy, was described by The New York Times Book Review as "quietly life-changing."
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Black-Eyed Susan Book Award, USA, 2007 : Nominated
Book Sense Book of the Year, USA, 2006 : Won
Caldecott Medal, USA, 2006 : Nominated
Charlotte Zolotow Award, USA, 2006 : Nominated
Colorado Children's Book Award, USA, 2007 : Nominated
Grand Canyon Reader Award, USA, 2007 : Nominated
Quill Awards, USA, 2005 : Nominated
Red Clover Award, USA, 2007 : Nominated
Rhode Island Children's Book Award, USA, 2007 : Nominated
Excerpts
Flap Copy
When Stillwater, a giant panda, moves into Addy, Michael, and Karl's neighborhood, he tells them the most amazing stories! He tells Addy the tale of a poor man who gives gifts to a robber. He tells Michael of a farmer who knows that luck can be neither judged nor predicted. And to Karl he tells the tale of a monk who carries the weight of a burden long past. With vibrant watercolors and elegant ink drawings, Jon J Muth-and Stillwater the bear-imaginatively present three classic Zen stories that abound with enlightenment and love.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2005-02-28:
Muth, who has retold traditional stories such as Stone Soup and Tolstoy's The Three Questions, and played up their spiritual elements with his elegant watercolors, here introduces three Zen stories from Japan. He frames the trio of tales within the context of a suburban household. Three siblings befriend a giant panda when his red umbrella blows into their yard. Speaking "with a slight panda accent," he introduces himself as Stillwater, and charms Addy and Michael-though Karl, the youngest, is still "shy around bears he [doesn't] know." Each day one of the children goes to visit Stillwater, revealing something of him- or herself. The panda chooses an appropriate Zen fable for each child, illustrated with rough-edged, Chinese-style brush-and-ink paintings on duotone pages, to play up the story-within-a-story structure. In the first, Stillwater tells Addy about his Uncle Ry, who disarms a robber by treating him like a guest (older readers will pick up from the closing author's note that "Uncle Ry" is shorthand for the Zen hermit Ryokan Taigu). In the next, a wise farmer demonstrates that good luck can quickly turn to bad luck and back again (a tale Ed Young also retold in The Lost Horse). In the last, a monk learns how to stop brooding and live in the present. Readers will fall easily into the rhythm of visits to Stillwater and his storytelling sessions, and many more will fall in love with the panda, whose shape and size offer the children many opportunities for cuddling. Ages 4-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Reviews
Review Quotes
Booklist Starred Gillian 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, 40pp, 16.95. Ages 4 to 9. Rating: 3: Recommended, satisfactory in style, content, and/or illustration. Kirkus Starred Review Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2005 (Vol. 73, No. 3)) 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) 2005, Scholastic, 40p, $16.95. Category: Picture book. Ages 5 to 9. Starred Review. © 2005 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved Timnah Card (The Bulletin of the Center for Children''s Books, April 2005 (Vol. 58, No. 8)) Addy, Michael, and Karl meet Stillwater the giant panda when he enters their yard to retrieve his breeze-blown umbrella. In their subsequent one-on-one visits to Stillwater's house, the siblings enjoy short stories from the Zen and Taoist practices told by Stillwater. Though the children's interaction with Stillwater instigates the telling of each story, these tales connect only tenuously with the frame narrative,
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Publishers Weekly, February 2005
School Library Journal, February 2005
Booklist, March 2005
Washington Post, March 2005
New York Times Book Review, July 2005
Horn Book Guide, October 2005
Washington Post, December 2005
Washington Post, June 2008
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Library of Congress Summary
When Stillwater the giant panda moves into the neighborhood, the stories he tells to three siblings teach them to look at the world in new ways. Includes factual note on Zen.
Main Description
Jon J Muth, author of the best-selling book, THE THREE QUESTIONS, has crafted another profound and winning picture book. "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.
Main Description
Three children meet Stillwater, a giant panda who tells amazing tales about the importance of generosity, the boundaries of good and bad, and what it means to hold on to frustration. With graceful art and simple stories that are filled with love and enlightenment, Jon J Muth presents three ancient Zen tales that are sure to strike a chord.
Main Description
When a giant panda bear names Stillwater moves into the neighbourhood, the lives of three children are transformed by his simple but wise stories about perseverance, forgiveness, and simplicity.
Main Description
When a giant panda moves into Michael, Addy, and Karl's neighborhood, he tells them the most amazing Zen stories that abound with enlightenment and love. John J Muth contributes vibrant watercolors and elegant ink drawings for this Caldecott Honor Book.
Main Description
When Stillwater, a giant panda, moves into Addy, Michael and Karl's neighbourhood, he tells them the most amazing stories! With his Zen approach to life, Stillwater shows the three children the value of material goods, the boundaries of good and bad, and what frustration does when it's held inside. With vibrant watercolours and elegant ink drawings, John J Muth - and Stillwater the panda - imaginatively present three classic Zen stories that abound with enlightenment and love.
Short Annotation
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.
Unpaid Annotation
With graceful art and simple stories that are filled with love and enlightenment, Jon Muth--and Stillwater the bear--presents three ancient Zen tales that are sure to strike a chord in everyone they touch. Full color.

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