March 7, 2007

Zen Shorts - by Jon Muth

What happens when a humongous, kind-hearted, talkative panda bear moves into your neighborhood? For three children, the answer is: fun! Stillwater the panda leads the children in a series of everyday adventures, introducing them to Japanese and Chinese culture, and telling them his own version of traditional Zen stories, to help teach them lessons for how to live good lives. The book is lavishly illustrated, interestingly written, and thought-provoking. My class loved the idea of hanging out with a giant panda bear, and they made some good connections to the stories Stillwater told. I enjoyed everything about this book, and though it won't do everything for everybody, it is ideal for readers interested in Asian cultures, traditional stories with funny, modern twists, and anyone willing to stop and reflect on their own life while they read.