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The Empty Pot

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4.37 of 5 stars 4.37  ·  rating details  ·  2,125 ratings  ·  307 reviews
A long time ago in China there was a boy named Ping who loved flowers. Anything he planted burst into bloom.

The Emperor loved flowers too. When it was time to choose an heir, he gave a flower seed to each child in the kingdom. "Whoever can show me their best in a year's time," he proclaimed, "shall succeed me to the throne!"

Ping plants his seed and tends it every day. But...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 15th 1990 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (first published January 1st 1990)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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midnightfaerie
A great educational book for your children of all ages. My 5 yr old loved it as well as my 3 yr old twins. Lots of good information with beautiful pictures that will help keep children engaged. It was recommended as additional reading to my child's history lesson on China, and we all loved it. This legend from China is a wonderful story even adults will love. You'll also appreciate the subtle lesson embedded in the book. Can't wait to pick up more by Demi. A great addition to any children's libr...more
Karen
The Empty Pot by Demi demonstrates an authentic experience of a Chinese boy named Ping. The author was not born in China, but her inner perspective of the culture becomes evident in her book. The story takes place in China. The book shows Chinese children and an Emperor. The illustrations are colorful, accurate and true to the time period portrayed, and all details of each illustration are chronologically accurate.

As we read the book it moves us into Ping’s experience on trying so hard to get a...more
Shanna Gonzalez
A wonderful story about the importance of telling the truth. Ping is the subject of a Chinese emperor who is exceptionally gifted at growing things. When it is time for the old king to choose his successor, he tests the children of the land by giving them each a seed to cultivate and bring to him within a year. Ping is unable to get this seed of all seeds to grow, and brings his empty pot to the king, whereupon the king reveals his wisdom in a surprise ending.

This is an aesthetic, moral story wi...more
Sheeba Virani
Wow, one of the best children's books that I have read! This book emphasizes the fact that it is important to do your best always. If you have honestly worked hard and tried your best you will succeed. It shows children how honesty and perseverance pays off for the little boy Ping and makes him emperor. It helps children understand the value of truth, hard work and courage.

Extension- Provide children with a small foam cup each labelled with their name. Help them plant some flower seeds. Explain...more
Alexis White
The story is about China and how the emperor will pick the next person to led the country. All the children are given a seed to plant and try to make the most beautiful flowers that you can. Everyone but one person can get these beautiful flowers to grow. This one boy ends up being the one chosen because he didn't lie, as we find out that the emperor cooked all the seeds so no one should have been able to grow such beautiful flowers.

This story was a good mix of history and also a lesson on what...more
(NS) Laura Jackson
The Empty Pot was written and illustrated by Demi. It was published by Henry Holt and Company in 1990. The Empty Pot is a wonderful story about a young boy, Ping, who lived in China. Ping loved flowers, and he loved to grow flowers. One day, the Emperor of China declared that he needed to choose a successor. He decided that he was going to let the flowers decide who would be the next Emperor of China. He gave the children of China flower seeds to plant and explained that whoever could show the b...more
Lindsay
I have always really liked The Empty Pot! I read it aloud to my students each year to teach them both the importance of courage and honesty. While I plan to continue this tradition, I also plan on using this text to expand my students awareness to Chinese culture and discuss how the culture is represented in this story.

The Emperor of China, seeks finding is successor. Children are challenged to grow the best flowers in one year with the seeds they receive from the Emperor. Ping, the main charac...more
Ronyell
I have been reading many works by Demi lately and now I wish to share my excitement about a Chinese folktale I have recently read called “The Empty Pot.” “The Empty Pot” is a Chinese folktale by Demi which is about the Emperor of China making a proclamation throughout China that whoever can plant him the most beautiful flower will the successor for his throne. “The Empty Pot” is truly one of the most clever folktales about honesty that was ever created!

A Long time ago in China, there lived a boy...more
Heather Mcgrath
Summary:

"The Empty Pot" is a book set in China. A boy named Ping loved flowers. Everything he touched bloomed as if by magic. Everyone in the kingdom loved flowers too, even the Emperor. One day the Emperor decided he needed to find a successor to his throne. He came up with a plan to give each child in the kingdom a seed and see who could grow the best flower. The child who could grow the best flower would be who the Emperor would choose to succeed him. All of the children came to the palace to...more
Dolly
Dec 22, 2010 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a wonderful tale. We recently read The King and the Seed and saw a reference to this story. Once I saw that it was by Demi, I just knew we needed to borrow it right away. We enjoyed both stories and talked a little about the differences between the two. We loved the illustrations in this story and although we liked both tales very much, I think this is our favorite of the two.
Sarah
Set in China, this folktale teaches us the importance of honesty. An Emperor holds a contest to see which child in the land will grow the most beautiful flower. Whoever wins will become the next Emperor. Our main character is sure he will win; he's a very skilled gardener. But when the seed the Emperor gave him simply does not grow, he's forced to bring an empty pot to the final reveal. Sure he will be punished, he tearfully describes his efforts and shows the empty pot. It's a fun surprise to h...more
Bethany
Wonderful book to use with students about the importance of being honest. I used this book in two language arts lessons to demostrate characters, the plot, the problem, and the conflict resoultion. We also used this story to teach what a moral of a story is all about. Finally, I created a story basket to teach the chiuldren about sequencing with this story. This is a great book to use in teaching. The students really take to it and try to understand. They wanted me to read it to them twice ina r...more
Katie Hanrahan
Learn the value of honesty in Demi's The Empty Pot. This story is a Chinese legend about a boy named Ping. Young Ping has a proficiency in taking care of flowers. One day, the Emperor - who also loved flowers - decided he was too old to tend to his flowers so he needed to find someone to take care of them and also to be his successor. He decided to let the plants decide. People came from far and wide to get their seeds and prove that they should be the successor. Ping was especially excited, but...more
Annabel
I'm a little biased because I had this enchanting tale read to me in my early years of grade-school and I've wondered about it until today when it was read to me in my children's literature class. I loved the simplistic story and minimalist classic Chinese artwork. The art was powerful and concise in its depictions which is something I really appreciate. I get really bothered when illustrations are confusing, unbalanced, oddly colored, and obsolete. The story's message is clear and powerful. The...more
Rll52014_sharonlieberman
The Empty Pot by Demi is a very sweet story that stresses the importance of honesty. In the story, in a kingdom where everyone loves flowers, it is time for the Emperor to select his successor. In order to help him make this important decision, he decides to hold a contest. Each child in the kingdom would receive a seed from the Emperor, and "whoever can show (the Emperor) their best in a year's time" would win the honor of being the successor to the throne. After a year, the main character, a b...more
Amelia
The Empty Pot is a wonderfully written and illustrated Chinese folktale about a young boy named Ping. This story leaves its readers with a positive message about the value of being honest. The illustrations are colorful and delicately painted, making them look authentic to the painting of images and symbols done in the Chinese culture.

This book is a great to share with elementary aged children. Children will appreciate and relate to the trials Ping goes through to grow a flower from the seeds gi...more
Frances
1.This story is based on a fable form China.
2.This story would work well with a small group mainly because of its small graphics.
3.Fables can serve as moral messengers.




Learning Activity

I think that for a learning activity the chldren will enjoy making clay pots or pinch bowls. We will make pots like the one Bing had in the story. I would need to get the special harding clay for this project. Once we make the pots we will then paint them.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I absolutely love this story about being honest and putting forth one's best effort! It's my favorite of all Demi's books. I've used it in many story times, though with younger children I've had to add a bit of explanation to make the ending clear for them. Great story, highly recommended for everyone!
RLL52014_KellyMcGushin Mcgushin
When I first saw this book I was not impressed with the cover or the illustrations. After reading the story I realize what a valuable lesson it teaches students. Honesty is a moral that not only children should be taught but one that adults can be reminded of too. Empty Pot by Demi is a well written historical fiction picture book. This book is about a young boy named Ping who fails to grow a flower after he is given a seed by the emperor. He goes to tell the emperor that he has failed at his ta...more
Jessica
The Empty Pot is a book that I have enjoyed reading over the years to my preschool classes. The underlying theme of the book is that when you are honest and hardworking, you will get your reward. It is a cute and short story that has the ability to maintain a child's interest. The pictures are simple and colorful. Occasionally, the library will have a "big book" version and that allows the children to see the details even better. When I used this particular book in my class before, I was able to...more
Rll52014_barb_zachwieja
In my school we are always supporting the "Cougar Code" which means that the students are to be respectful, be responsible, be safe and be a good buddy. (This is in conjunction with our PBIS program and our Olweus anti-bullying program). So, we are always looking for books that show someone acting with character. When I read The Empty Pot for the first time, I was not expecting the surprise ending at all. I love that the protagonist acted with the utmost of honest character. Besides that, the il...more
Christina Fisher
Not only are the illustrations in this book stunningly beautiful, but the message about honesty is a great one. I actually found a read aloud online by the author, Demi, herself, which would be neat for students in elementary school to hear - especially those who might be budding writers or even hesitant ones who need an extra push. The main character, Ping, is a boy who always grows the most beautiful flowers in China. The emperor announces that whoever can grow the most beautiful flowers from...more
Robert
I am not certain how I came to learn of this folktale. A few years ago, however, it came to my attention. I know I have seen a YouTube video of someone reading it.

A simple tale with a powerful message. Over the last couple years I have changed up some of my long-held routines in my classroom. One of the changes is the opening day routine. I have begun reading Miss Nelson Is Missing. I use that as an introduction to behavior in the classroom.

It dawned on me that this book would work equally well....more
Ashley Sites
This is a wonderful story of honesty. A small boy named Ping who has a natural gift for growing plants is faced with a problem when he is unable to grow anything from the seed that the emperor has given him. I have always liked this story from elementary school. I love the characters that are in this story, but I love the surprise ending at the end the most. Ping is very honest and brave. The illustrations in this book are very elegant to me. I think that the pictures are peaceful. I love the me...more
Sarah
"The Empty Pot" by Demi is a well written historical fiction picture book. This book is about a young boy named Ping who fails to grow a flower after he is given a seed by the emperor. Sorrowfully he goes to tell the emperor that he has failed at his task. The emperor rewards him for being honest and he is given the emperor's kingdom. This book would be a great book to use in the elementary school classroom to teach about the importance of being honest and having courage. The illustrations help...more
Nancy
Published: 1990, Holt
Age: 6-9
This is the perfect children’s picture book. It is the story of Ping, a Chinese boy who loved to grow flowers. The Emperor also loves flowers and when he needs to find a successor to his throne he challenges the villagers to grow flowers from his special flower seeds. Whoever grows the most exquisite flower will take his place as emperor. All the children bring the emperor beautifully grown flowers except Ping, whose flower will not bloom no matter what he does. Fine...more
Maria Katrina
The Empty Pot is a traditional Chinese folktale about a young boy named Ping who loved flowers and could make any seed grow beautifully like magic. Everyone in the Kingdom loved flowers, including the Emperor who tended to his own garden. However, the Emperor has grown old and weak now needs a successor to this throne. He decides that he will choose his successor through a planting competition with a twist. A proclamation is issued exclaiming that all the children should come to the palace to be...more
Stephanie Gulliver
Summary: The Empty Pot is a children’s story about Ping, a young boy who loves to grow beautiful flowers. One day the Emperor decided to choose his successor by choosing a plant that each child in the kingdom had grown. Ping had been so good at growing flowers, until he tried to grow for the emperor. He appeared before him with an empty pot full of dirt. The pictures in this book are beautiful, especially when showing the flowers. It is not a simple illustration, but something very detailed.
Resp...more
Nicole Perez
I was blown away by the profoundness of this story book. And the first time I read it, I had no idea what was going to happen at the end. The message of honesty, courage and integrity was so beautifully woven into the story - a teaching so universal, this book should be a pleasure for all ages. As the emperor calls all children of the kingdom, for he is looking for a new emperor, he requests that they each grow a flower. The child with the most beautiful flower shall be the new emperor. Ping's g...more
Alexis
A very sweet story with a lesson about honesty and doing the best you can - and accepting that your best is good enough.

The Chinese Emperor is growing old and must choose a successor. He loves flowers more than anything, so he devises a plan to let the flowers decide which child shall be next to rule. A little boy named Ping also loves flowers, and is known for his green thumb. But when the seed the Emperor gives him doesn't grow, he must face what comes next with courage.

The artwork is very p...more
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Life Lesson: Honesty is the best policy 2 7 Sep 16, 2012 05:14PM  
MCC Children's Li...: The Empty Pot 1 1 Mar 06, 2012 01:20AM  
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Demi (September 2, 1942) born Charlotte Dumaresq Hunt, is an award-winning children’s book author and illustrator. During her career she has published over 300 titles.

Demi was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is the great-grand daughter of the American painter William Morris Hunt, and the great-grand niece of architect Richard Morris Hunt. Demi earned her nickname as a young child when her fa...more
More about Demi...
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