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The Three Questions by Jon J. Muth
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The Three Questions (original 2002; edition 2002)

by Jon J. Muth (Author)

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1,738897,042 (4.31)8
Nikolai asks his animal friends to help him answer three important questions: "When is the best time to do things?" "Who is the most important?" and "What is the right thing to do?"
Member:238Elm
Title:The Three Questions
Authors:Jon J. Muth (Author)
Info:Scholastic (2002)
Collections:Your library
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Tags:Picture Books, Character

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The Three Questions by Jon J. Muth (2002)

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» See also 8 mentions

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  lcslibrarian | Aug 13, 2020 |
Gorgeous artwork illuminates this children's adaptation of Tolstoy's classic story. In truth, I find this version more powerful and more convincing.

That being said...

While this story isn't without decent advice, it's mostly facile. In general, I have three reactions to this story (both this children's version and also Tolstoy's original):

1) I inherently distrust anyone who claims easy and obvious answers to life's challenges and problems.

2) I inherently distrust wise hermits / men living alone on mountain tops. What do they know about living in a society, about being a member of a community of people?

3) My biggest concern is how this could be read:

"The most important person is the one you are with" and "The most important thing is to do good for the one who is standing at your side" could just as easily justify discounting everyone who isn't close to you, who isn't part of your group. It implies that most people in the world aren't important. It could just as easily imply that you shouldn't bother to care about people distant from you, who aren't a part of your immediate life and experience.

"The most important time is now" seems awfully short-sighted. Actions have consequences and we have a responsibility to the future. This piece of wisdom could just a easily justify carelessness and not thinking things through.

I know none of that is the intention of this story: indeed, it wants to teach lessons of compassion and caring. I just worry about how easily it can be read to justify solipsism and short-sightedness. ( )
  johnthelibrarian | Aug 11, 2020 |
The author's note explains that he was inspired by Tolstoy's 1903 short story, "The Three Question," which has very different events. ( )
  raizel | Apr 29, 2020 |
When is the right time? What is the right thing? Who is more important? Throughout his journey, Nikolai struggled with these three questions. He goes to see the old turtle Leo who was sure to know since he has so much experience. When a bad storm comes, Nikolai is tested and finds out he knows the answer to these question, they were inside of him all along! ( )
  KPareti | Aug 21, 2019 |
The Three Questions is a telltale story about a boy who is in need of answers for three important questions of life and honors of friendship. In it he has interactions with animals in an invented sense of triviality as the animals guide him to a semblance of personal power and truth. The story flowed with a sense of moderate urgency but did gave power to the importance of self reflection and thoughtful practice in the socratic method. It also alludes to elements of Tolstoy and characteristics of his writings. Very well written and illustrated as you can almost feel and see the boy's enlightenment in the subject unfolding ( )
  W.Arute | Aug 21, 2019 |
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There once was a boy named Nikolai who sometimes felt uncertain about the right way to act.
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Nikolai asks his animal friends to help him answer three important questions: "When is the best time to do things?" "Who is the most important?" and "What is the right thing to do?"

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