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Zen Shorts (Zen)

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  8,322 ratings  ·  587 reviews
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
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published March 1st 2005 by Scholastic Press (first published January 1st 2005)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Feb 23, 2009 nicole rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Shelves: picture-books
This is a story about a zen philosophy toting giant panda named Stillwater. He shares ancient zen parables with the children he befriends to help them cool their jets. You totally don't have to be a kid to read this. On bad days at work (when we actually have this in stock), I like to pick this off the shelf and read it. It makes problems seem smaller, and dwelling on other people seem a waste of time. Inner peace in like, ten minutes, man!

my favorite selection:


Two traveling monk
Splendid! Muth combines a tale of Stillwater the panda's budding friendship with three children with three classic Zen tales. Stillwater is a wonderful creation, so warm and cozy, so calming, so wise--yet still great fun. Rather like Zen, in fact! ;-> A great introduction to Zen for children, and a delightful tale anyway.
First Second Books
This weekend I picked up a copy of Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth at a library book sale. What a delightful book. I still remember picking it up in bookstore for the first time and smiling my way from cover to cover. This weekend, not only did I re-read it but I passed it around to my friends to read (and smile) through.
Jim Erekson
Overtly didactic, I would have liked this book less if we hadn't just had an in-depth discussion about transformative education last night in our semiotics seminar. The power of Zen stories and koans to still the mind and help people to perceive what is up close and cluttering our minds is part of transformation. Without becoming aware of broader forces and trends that work to shape us and boss us around, it can be difficult to transform.

What I enjoy in a transformative experience is the having
Genre: Cultural Folktale
Grade: K-6
Caldecott Honor Book

This is a beautifully illistrated narritive of three siblings that become friends with a panda named Stillwater. Each sibling visits the panda and the panda teaches each one a lesson. He tells them stories about his experiences to help him feel better about what is troubling them. After he tells the story, the book changes to a different, more graphic, illustration style and tells a Zen tale related to the story Stillwater had just told. It's
Three years before Po scadooshed Tai Lung, wonder artist/children's author Jon J. Muth won the Caldecott with the introduction of Zen Panda extraordinaire Stillwater.

Muth's Zen Shorts is a beautiful piece, telling tales of love and comradeship, friendship and patience, care and giving. Three siblings find the Zen Panda and listen -- individually -- to his tales of life. They learn lessons, and so do the readers and listeners, without ever being beaten over the head with stick.

And the water colou
So, this afternoon we finished reading our other two books, and my niece said, "Amy, I have a book we can read! It's called Zen Shorts--see, it's about a panda who wears shorts!"

As entertaining as that story might have been, the story that Zen Shorts actually was was really lovely. The kids enjoyed the panda and his interactions with the kids, and they very much appreciated the pictures. It was a unique and peaceful story.

For me, what drops this from four stars to three is my niece only understo
A deserving Caldecott Honor winner (_The Hello Goodbye Window_ by Norton Juster and illustrated by Chris Raschka was the winner in 2006), Zen Shorts tells the story of three children who encounter Stillwater, a mysterious Panda with a red umbrella, in their back yard. He tells each of them a simple, poignant story which relates subtly to their lives (in the case of Karl, who is angry at his brother, it is more pointed). The stories all come from the Zen tradition, but this is not obvious unless ...more
Julia Drescher
Three siblings befriend a panda, Stillwater, who teaches them some important life lessons. There are two older children, a boy and a girl, (maybe 8-10) and a little boy who is likely 4-6. They each spend a day with Stillwater doing something unique, and he ends up sharing short Zen stories with each of the children. The story that he tells to each child, and the activity they each engage in with Stillwater, are unique to each child.

The illustrations are beautifully done in watercolors. They are
This book had very fun to read little storys, and really buitifull pictures. This book took me on a journey! one of my favorite books are, Zen Shorts. give it a try!
Oct 31, 2009 Liz rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: kids ages 4+
Shelves: lis-565
This 2006 Caldecot Honor book is pure beauty, from the water color illustrations to the wise stories. Karl, Abby and Michael meet Stillwater on a rainy day in their backyard. The next day Abby went to visit Stillwater. They share some cake while Stillwater tells Abby a story about gift giving. Michael visits Stillwater the next day and as they sit high up in a tree Stillwater tells Michael luck. Karl visits next and brings with him a whole pool full of swimming toys even though Michael told him ...more
Laura Noto
Zen Shorts is a thought-provoking picture book for K-3rd readers. Even though the content and themes would be better understood by older readers, all children would be able to enjoy the beautiful pictures and interesting characters. Zen Shorts is about three children who are visited by a panda bear named Stillwater. Each day one of the children go to visit Stillwater with a problem or question. He tells them stories that make the children reconsider their issues and opinions.
Text Summary
Stillwater is a giant panda with meaningful stories to tell. Three siblings: Addie, Michael, and Karl, first discover Stillwater sitting in their backyard, as Stillwater apologetically states that he and his red umbrella have been carried there by the wind. Following their encounter with this giant panda, each of the three children visits Stillwater at his home. On her visit, Addie hears the story of “Uncle Ry and the Moon,” a poor man who gives gifts to a robber. On Michael’s visit,
Robyn Schaefer
The three short stories in this collection, as the title would imply, move rather slowly. In a very “Zen-like” manner, a giant panda shares philosophical stories with the three kids who live next door. Although the two older children warmed up to the curious panda immediately, the youngest boy was “shy around bears he didn’t know.” That was the only humorous line in the story, the rest took a more solemn, contemplative tone.

The stories reveal basic truths about human nature and can lead to a ri
L-Angelica Herrera-Vest
Personal response: Karl, Addy and Michael meet Stillwater, a giant Panda who teaches them life truths through stories (short meditations). The three stories Panda tells the children makes them reconsider why they do the things they do. In other words he is challenging them to reexamine their habits and ideas.In the story Sillwater tells Addy she learns it is better to give than to recieve. Even if you think you have nothing to give, there is always something, and the best thing to give can be fr ...more
Angela Bailey
Title / Author / Publication Date:
Zen Shorts. / Jon Muth. / 2005.

Genre: Fiction.

Format: Picturebook - print.

Plot summary:
"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" (NoveList).

Considerations or precautions for readers advisory:
brothers & sisters, Buddhism, pandas, folktales

Review citation:
"The tales invite the children to consider the world and their perceptions from a different angle; for Karl, t
Christopher Cordry
There are at least two reasons why children's books need to be at least as good as grown-up books. The first is in order to help the kids develop good taste. The second and more important reason is that as an adult, you read these books over and over again, every day, and if they're not really damn good books, you're going to hang yourself from the ceiling fan sooner or later.

That said, this is one of the better children's books in our collection. It's one of my daughter's favorites, and I've r
Mason Stewart
Love it! A giant panda named Stillwater moves into a suburban neighborhood where siblings Addy, Michael and Karl live. At first the siblings were startled at the large panda but after getting to know him a bit they change their mind. Each of the siblings are going through some type of anxiety so the panda tells each one of them a story accordingly. Each one of these classic Zen stories delivers a poignant message. Absolutely stellar watercolor illustrations match perfectly with the mood of the b ...more
Sarah Nottingham
Zen Shorts by Jon J Muth is a story about the relationship between Addy, Michael, and Karl and their Panda bear friend Stillwater. The story starts when an unexpected visitor comes to visit Addy, Michael, and Karl. He is a panda bear named Stillwater and his umbrella had blown into their yard, and this is where their friendship begins. The next day the oldest sibling Addy decides to go visit Stillwater and bring him a cake. Stillwater is delighted by the cake and tells Addy a story about his unc ...more
Cierra Garrison
This book originally caught my eye because of the Caldecott sticker on the front. Not only are the illustrations amazing, the story is fantastic as well. The story follows Stillwater, a panda that shows up on the front porch of three unsuspecting children's home. Stillwater takes each of the children on their own playdate and tells them a story (a zen short). The stories are about the value placed on material things, the boundaries of good and bad, and letting go of anger and frustration. This b ...more
Kaitlin McDonough
This cheerful book focuses on a wise and intelligent panda named Stillwater who has recently moved into Addy, Michael, and Karl’s neighborhood. The book follows Stillwater and the 3 children. The book follows the time Stillwater and the children spend together but also includes three Zen stories told by Stillwater. First and second graders will enjoy the whimsy and exploration of the characters in this book. They will be able to relate to the adventures of the characters with their own real or i ...more
Jan 31, 2009 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Great book with three short little stories that are good teaching points for Zen. The main character, a panda named Stillwater, is a Zen master and befriends some neighbors, telling them in turn each a story. It's a nicely illustrated book, with the Zen stories in monochromatic contrast to the background tale. Our girls enjoyed this story and I loved it!
Parker Lewis
This book has four main characters, Stillwater who is a panda, and three humans, Addy, Michael and Karl. The book tells three separate stories, all told by Stillwater, to each individual kid. Each story has a theme behind it and teaches each kid a different lesson about life. This book is encompassed with good morals and values om how to live your life.
The three main themes in this book are generosity, luck cannot be determined so go with the flow of life, and you have to let go of anger someti
Hannah Jane
My ears will forever be searching for a panda accent.

Also, I have been carrying things for years that have already been set down.

Lastly, being chucked into a wading pool via panda paw is at the top of my bucket list.
Marissa Kuhn
Zen Shorts is a great picture book about three siblings who spend time with their friendly neighborhood Panda Bear, Stillwater. Each child learns something different from Stillwater through his short tales, and they discuss the moral of the story afterwards. The story is beautifully written and illustrated with watercolors and ink. Each picture corresponds with the story very well and can easily capture a child's attention. I love how rich the colors are for the main story, but when Stillwater t ...more
Wendee Vezzetti
Jul 15, 2014 Wendee Vezzetti rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: toddlers and older
Shelves: schl-5200
This is one of my and AJ's favorite books! AJ constantly asks to read the panda book, even though he is only 2.5 and this book I would rate at preschool and older. He is still unable to understand the message of the parables that Stillwater speaks to the kids, but AJ is still entertained by the graphics. it is a great bedtime read and it is on our must-read almost every night!

AGES: Primary (K-3) - I read it with AJ who is 2.5, so I would say preschool and up

PUBLISHER: Scholastic Press

Olivia Lagore
Three children get to know their new neighbor, a panda named Stillwater. Although Stillwater is very different from Addy, Michael, and Carl, he has valuable lessons to teach them.
In my classroom, I might use this book as an introduction to learning about different cultures as it not only introduces the idea of learning more about new and different people, it brings up the importance of storytelling in many different cultures. In the book, Stillwater shares several traditional stories with his yo
Lisa Vegan
I actually read Zen Ties first. I highly recommend reading this book first, then Zen Ties. Great introduction to Zen storytelling for young kids. And the paintings are beautiful.
Cara Byrne
One day, Addy, Michael and Karl find their new panda bear neighbor chasing his parasol in their backyard, and their lives are changed by panda Stillwater's gentle and his wise "zen shorts." As gestured toward in the title, Muth's book is all about zen and learning about life from small stories that do not always have an easy moral to pick out. Stillwater tells the children different stories, each rooted in Buddhist and Tao literature. Muth's illustrations change between the central narrative and ...more
I love pandas and so I just had to love this book. Very beautiful pictures and a nice introduction to Zen for kids.
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Jon J. Muth is an American comic artist. His works include J. M. DeMatteis' graphic novel Moonshadow, Neil Gaiman's The Sandman: The Wake (along with Michael Zulli, Charles Vess), Mike Cary's Lucifer: Nirvana and Swamp Thing: Roots. Muth has gone on to an award-winning career as a children's book writer and illustrator. He received a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators for his illustration ...more
More about Jon J. Muth...

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Zen (3 books)
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