Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth
What would you think if a giant panda moved into your neighborhood? Not only that, he’s a talking panda who is fun to talk to and play with, AND he tells wonderful stories that teach you lessons about life. Well that’s exactly what happened to three kids, two brothers and their sister, one day when they find a giant panda named Stillwater sitting in their backyard holding a large red umbrella.
Each of the kids, Addy, Michael and Karl, visit Stillwater on their own and while they are playing they each hear stories that help them deal with an issue about life. Addy hears the story about giving gifts to a robber, while Michael’s story is about a farmer who knows that luck is something we cannot judge or predict. The youngest child, Karl, hears a story that helps him learn not to carry hard feelings because they become a burden that is too heavy to carry.
One of the things that make this such a great book to read is the beautiful watercolor illustrations that the author, Jon J. Muth has made. The illustrations are simple, but made me feel like I was right in the book with Addy, Michael, and Karl. He does a really cool thing by changing to black and white ink drawings to tell the Zen stories and then switches back to watercolor illustrations when the kids are in the story. It’s a nice effect. I am always jealous when I read books with beautiful illustrations and I hope that someday I can make pictures as nice as these!
Pick up this book in the Media Center soon. You’ll really love it…and learn some lessons about life that will help you forever.
~Reviewed by Mrs. Molly Efland, Instructional Coach