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Zen Shorts (Caldecott Medal - Honors Winning Title(s)) Hardcover – Mar 2005


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 1 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press (Mar. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439339111
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439339117
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 26.7 x 27.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 635,620 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Title: Zen Shorts <>Binding: Hardcover <>Author: JonJ.Muth <>Publisher: ScholasticPress

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Miss Print on 21 Sept. 2007
Format: Hardcover
Zen Shorts is a picture book written and illustrated by Jon J. Muth. But it's also a short story collection. And it's also a philosophy book. And it has a giant panda. Oh, and it is a Caldecott Honor book too.

The story starts when siblings Addy, Michael, and Karl meet Stillwater, a large Panda who wanders into their backyard to retrieve his umbrella. I love the opening scenes of the story. Karl, the youngest sibling, is looking out a window and telling Michael he sees a huge bear. Eventually all of the kids go out and say hello to Stillwater. Addy introduces Karl, who is "shy around bears he doesn't know." I find that phrase so enchanting. This kind of charm continues throughout the book.

The next day Addy meets Stillwater for tea. Then Michael and Stillwater hang out. Then Karl goes swimming with Stillwater.

Each outing is accompanied by an appropriate short story. The first is about a man (panda) who gives a gift to a robber. Another is about a man who knows that luck is a many-faceted thing. The final story is about a monk carrying an unnecessary burden. I'll never explain the stories as well as Muth tells them, so you should just read the book.

The illustrations of Stillwater and the children are beautifully rendered watercolors. The coloring is subtle with quite intricate line work for the drawings. The stories between the "real" story are printed on pastel backgrounds and illustrated with silhouettes so that they have a clearly different look from the rest of the book.

When you're finished you should also check out the afterward which explains the underlying philosophy for each story. (Muth has a lot of Buddhist/Taoist influences.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Reflection Haiku on 25 Aug. 2010
Format: Hardcover
No matter what a reader's expectation is, this book may still surprise them with its gentle perfection. The illustrator and author of several of our children's favorites, "Come on, Rain", "Stone Soup" and "Three Questions", Jon Muth has accomplished a rare feat with his ingenious artistic and storytelling mastery with ZEN SHORTS. In the harmonious framework of this book, the West interacts with the East, the Past teaches the Present and the Humans listen to the Animal-masters. Sensitivity and respect for all nature underlying the veins of the book and children of all ages will be mesmerized by the graceful yet humorous watercolor/ink drawings and at the same time learn from the rejuvenated classic Chinese stories. Stillwater, the relaxed and free-spirited Panda, in his ZEN SHORTS has brought us so much nostalgic and deep delight.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Taiho on 14 Jan. 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the most beautiful children's books I've ever seen. We have the Japanese version and my son is addicted. I was wowed by the truly stunning watercolour illustrations which are just fabulous. The stories each teach a lesson about tolerance or sharing or patience, but not in a preachy way. I don't think my son is old enough to appreciate those angles yet but he keeps on requesting this book time and again. Some of my happiest memories in recent months involve he and I snuggled up in bed reading this book together. They are very precious times. Buy this book. Your kids will love it and you'll want to sneak a peek yourself after they've gone to bed!

Only one thing. I never knew the bear was called Clearwater. In Japanese he's called Shizuka-kun, which means "quiet/peaceful".
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Zen Shorts" is a beautiful children's book of very profound Zen parables, with timeless moral lessons. The watercolor illustrations are beautiful. The book makes an excellent gift. I wholeheartedly recommend it.
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