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Zen Shorts by Jon Muth

Zen Shorts (edition 2005)

by Jon Muth

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1,7181534,132 (4.4)24
Title:Zen Shorts
Authors:Jon Muth
Info:Scholastic Inc. (2005), Paperback, 36 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Easy, Caldecott

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Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth



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Showing 1-5 of 152 (next | show all)
This book is called Zen shorts. It is by Muth, jon j. This book is about three kids to meet a panda bear he tells them stories and has fun with them. This book is OK because I like books that have lots of an adventure in them. But I did find out that each of the stories in this book that the panda bear tell to them they all teach a lesson to the kids. ( )
  CooperW8 | Oct 4, 2015 |
“Zen Shorts” by Jon J Muth is a children’s book with many moral lessons and also with references to Japanese culture. In the book, a panda befriends three siblings and the panda shares wise moral stories with each of the children separately. The lessons from the panda are about the themes of being selfless, certainty and doubt, and letting go negative emotions. I would want this book in my classroom because these lessons can be carried throughout life and inspire children to be more giving and open minded. Also, the references to Japanese culture are a unique way to expand understanding of different cultures and diversity in a intriguing way. For example, the panda’s name is Stillwater, which is explained in the back of the book. The stories the panda tells are in the setting of an old Japanese culture that includes diverse characters from that time. ( )
  bboyd7 | Sep 25, 2015 |
I had feeling good feelings about this book after reading it. From the illustration on the front, it was not very colorful and did not catch my eye prior to reading it, to be a good children’s book. The language was easy to understand if I was an elementary school student. It was descriptive enough that the adjectives being used would not be too overwhelming for the reader. The flow from each of the children’s interaction with Stillwater, one of the main characters, was smooth and organized. It went from the oldest child Addy onto Michael and then to the youngest little boy Karl. The author told the story in third person which was something I feel all elementary school children are used to being told. This would help readers understand of the plot better. I feel that the plot of the story was easy to understand but the life lessons behind the stories would not be recognized. The plot was about a kind panda, named Stillwater that came and visited three children to help them learn individual life lessons. Karl’s time with Stillwater was the most interesting. With Karl being the youngest child, he gets mad at his older siblings easily. Stillwater teaches him about understand his anger. While he tells his stories from the past, you see that the illustrations change. They go from bright and colorful, and then back to old Asian stencil drawings that enhance the meaning of the story. I found it to be helpful to differentiate between the life lessons and the actual story in present time. The part of the book that I feel would go over elementary students heads would be when it came to analyzing the story, pushing them to think about tough issues and broaden their prospective. There was a deeper cultural meaning to the story to teach the reader about Japanese beliefs and Buddhism studies of meditation. Zen is a Japanese word that simply means meditation. Stillwater’s name in this culture means artist or teacher. I don’t think that an elementary school will understand the deeper meaning of what the author intended. Otherwise, the big picture of this book was to inform children about life lessons through another person’s story and to be exposed to a different culture beliefs and studies. ( )
  jbahri1 | Sep 15, 2015 |
Gentle, lightly humorous (see the opening few pages), wise and lovingly, beautifully illustrated. The zen "shorts," or stories, are simply told for children, yet meaningful for all ages. My favorite is "Uncle Ry and the Moon" for the suitable raccoon as the robber and Uncle Ry's compassionate ending words: "If only I could have given him this wonderful moon." Michael's story, "The Farmer's Luck" is humorous and Michael's conclusion wise: "Maybe good luck and bad luck are all mixed up. You never know what will happen next." "A Heavy Load" for Karl has the perfect message about how useless holding a grudge can be. I love the exuberance of Karl in the pictures. An Author's Note explains more about Zen and some of the real people his characters are partly based upon. I look forward to sharing this story with friends and reading Jon Muth's additional Zen books, Zen Ties, Zen Ghosts and the newest, Zen Socks as well as the seasonal haiku, "Hi, Koo!" ( )
  bookwren | Aug 27, 2015 |
Beautifully written and illustrated, this book doesn't teach values such as forgiveness as much as it tells stories from which the reader can draw their own conclusions. Younger students will enjoy this book if nothing else than because it is about a talking panda that befriends children, but I could see reading it aloud and discussing it as a character-building exercise.
  cameroneshaw | Aug 8, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 152 (next | show all)
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)
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, and their primary purpose seems more to provide food for thought than to offer resolution to the problems presented in the frame story. Indeed, as explained in an author's note, these shorts are traditionally used to guide meditation rather than to entertain. In keeping with the intention of the text, the line-and-watercolor illustrations display a meditative balance of color and smoothness of movement--figures in motion appear to float in the lemon and azure air, even as their bodies retain a decided weight. Images of climbing and bouncing figures emphasize that ethereality, which, when combined with the delicately expressive human and panda forms, positions the visual effect of the illustrations halfway between realism and surrealism. The art for the internal short stories is given in dramatic black ink sketches, the strikingly energetic elements silhouetted against white or white and a single pastel. In spite of the quality of the illustrations, peaceful reflection is not an easy sell to picture-book aficionados, so the contemplative text limits the youthful audience to those who have strong interests in this aspect of Asian culture or those with impressive powers of concentration. A note explains more about Zen and Muth's specific inspirations.
added by ReneHohls | editBulletin of the Center for Children's Books 58 no8 351 Ap 2005, Timnah Card (Apr 1, 2005)
Stories within a story give readers many layers to enjoy and explore. Jon Muth writes about three siblings with a new neighbor -- a giant panda named Stillwater with the wisdom of an ancient Buddhist monk. Stillwater doesn't lead his listeners to any conclusions, which guarantees that each reading can lead to new ideas and epiphanies.

The beautiful watercolor and ink illustrations are -- like the stories they accompany -- deceptively simple. But a careful examination will reveal small details that reinforce the Asian inspiration. On the last page, Muth gives more details about Zen, the real people behind his imaginary characters, and shares the origins of the stories. Kids who are ready to think about complicated ideas about justice, kindness, and retribution will value the book, and even younger kids who just want entertainment will be pleased.
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the Giant Panda I've often found dancing on my porch
First words
"Michael! There's a bear outside!" said Karl.
"What's he doing?" Michael asked. / "He's sitting. He has an umbrella," said Karl. / "An umbrella?"
He spoke with a slight panda accent.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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References to this work on external resources.

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Book description
Curriculum Connection:  3rd Grade Reading  Std. 2 Reading for All Purposes
Concepts and skills students master:1. Strategies are needed to make meaning of various types of literary genres
iii. Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text. (CCSS: RL.3.2)
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0439339111, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:00 -0400)

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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.

(summary from another edition)

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