"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 Addie 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 ...
"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 Addie 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.
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This book combines good illustrations with good stories that are meaningful and deep. I have read many books to my children, but I have enjoyed this one the most of all. I only hope that the stories and their meanings sink in and are of guidance to my children (and myself) in our daily lives.
Sep 25, 2008
This is a delightful reading not only for young readers but for adults unfamiliar with the teachings that are provided. It can be a catalyst for further discussions and I encourage using the stories to launch "what if" or "how would you?" dialogues.
Publishers Weekly, 2005-02-28 Muth, who has retold traditional stories such as Stone Soup and Tolstoy's The Three Questions, and played up their spiritual elements with his elegant watercolors, here introduces three Zen stories from Japan. He frames the trio of tales within the context of a suburban household. Three siblings befriend a giant panda when his red umbrella blows into their yard. Speaking "with a slight panda accent," he introduces himself as Stillwater, and charms Addy and Michael-though Karl, the youngest, is still "shy around bears he [doesn't] know." Each day one of the children goes to visit Stillwater, revealing something of him- or herself. The panda chooses an appropriate Zen fable for each child, illustrated with rough-edged, Chinese-style brush-and-ink paintings on duotone pages, to play up the story-within-a-story structure. In the first, Stillwater tells Addy about his Uncle Ry, who disarms a robber by treating him like a guest (older readers will pick up from the closing author's note that "Uncle Ry" is shorthand for the Zen hermit Ryokan Taigu). In the next, a wise farmer demonstrates that good luck can quickly turn to bad luck and back again (a tale Ed Young also retold in The Lost Horse). In the last, a monk learns how to stop brooding and live in the present. Readers will fall easily into the rhythm of visits to Stillwater and his storytelling sessions, and many more will fall in love with the panda, whose shape and size offer the children many opportunities for cuddling. Ages 4-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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