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Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth
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Zen Shorts

by Jon J. Muth

Series: Zen (1)

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2,2961974,217 (4.39)29
  1. 00
    The Lost Horse: A Chinese Folktale by Ed Young (muumi)
    muumi: The story of the old man who lost his horse, told by Stillwater the panda in Zen Shorts, is recounted at greater length in The Lost Horse -- with puppets to act it out included.
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» See also 29 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 196 (next | show all)
This book is comprised of one main story with three shorter stories in it. It starts when three children befriend a panda bear named Stillwater . When each child takes his or her turn to visit Stillwater, he gives them advice by telling a story. I think children can really learn from the stories while enjoying the book. ( )
  bernadettecasey | Aug 20, 2019 |
Top 100 pick because:

Zen Shorts is my jam.
I write haikus all the time.
Although they're just meh.

I studied abroad in Japan, particularly Zen Buddhism so this picure book was a delight to read. It elquenctly and effortlessly captures the essense of zen, meditation, Taoism, and more. The watercolor illustrations are a great fit for this topic, and the emotion and zen behind the story delicately captured through them. ( )
  EMiMIB | Aug 9, 2019 |
A philosophical panda moves in next door and tells the neighbour children tales beloved in Zen lore and Chinese folk tradition, including my favourite good news/bad news story When The Old Man On The Frontier Lost His Horse. ( )
  muumi | Jun 11, 2019 |
Book with CD, and author's note about Zen. Uncle Ry and the Moon, A Heavy Load, Farmer's Luck
  uucmp | May 23, 2019 |
"Zen Shots" is a children's book, that has 3 different short stories for children in it. The story is all about a panda, Stillwater, that moves into this families neighborhood, and all of the kids in the family takes turns spending time with Stillwater. Overtime one of the children goes to Stillwater's house, he tells them a story that will help them in their lives. In the end, all of the stories help the kids realize something about themselves, or each other, and everyone is friends again. The illustrations in the book appear to be done with watercolor, making it a peaceful and very soft environment when reading. When Stillwater is telling a story, the illustrations completely change however. Nothing is in watercolor, but in a bold black ink on a colored background. Having the distinction between the book and the short stories makes the short stories stand out more when reading. The change in medium changes the setting of the story, and I can see how this would be beneficial when reading to students, and how it would capture their attention all over again. This book won the Caldecott medal in 2006, and it obviously deserving of the award. One other aspect of the illustrations I noticed was how they related to the culture and history that went with the book. The Zen short stories that were bing told are from old Buddhist /Chinese literature, and the ink illustrations of the short stories are a thoughtful connection to the history and culture of the stories. ( )
  oleger | Feb 12, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 196 (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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People/Characters
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Epigraph
Dedication
FOR BALLARD BORICH
the Giant Panda I've often found dancing on my porch
First words
"Michael! There's a bear outside!" said Karl.
Quotations
"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
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

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)

(see all 5 descriptions)

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.

» see all 5 descriptions

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