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The Empty Pot

4.36 of 5 stars 4.36  ·  rating details  ·  2,831 ratings  ·  380 reviews
An IRA-CBC Children's Choice.

An American Bookseller "Pick of the Lists."
Paperback, 32 pages
Published December 1st 1993 by Spoken Arts (first published January 1st 1990)
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Community Reviews

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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
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
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
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
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
A Chinese Emperor will make his successor to the throne the kid who success in showing him the best flower bloomed form the seeds he gave away to all the children in the land.

Ping did his best taking care of his seed, giving to it the best soil and water, but the flower never sprouted. Ashamed Ping brings an empty pot to the palace. All the children of the land have beautiful flowers to show.To his surprise the Emperor choose him his successor since the seeds were cooked and Ping was the only wh
Courtney Lauren Smith
The Empty Pot by Demi is one of the cutest picture books I have read. It tells the story of a young boy named Ping, who loved flowers. The emperor of their kingdom, who also loved flowers, was getting old and needed to find an heir to inherit his kingdom once he passed. To find the perfect heir he created a contest for the children of the kingdom. He gave flower seeds to every child and promised that who whoever could show him their best in a years time would inherit the kingdom. So for an entir ...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
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
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
Heather Mcgrath

"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
Dec 22, 2010 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
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
Gabrielle King
This is a traditional children's book because it has a moral and could have been based on true, historic events. The illustrations are detailed, with many different flowers depicted. I think it is important to portray a variety of flowers in order to be more visually appealing to an audience.
The story itself is really great. An emperor decides to pass his thrown to someone else, and decides the person who is most suitable is a child who can grow the prettiest flower. Ping is a young child, and
Libby In Libraryland
"The Emperor asked him, "Why did you bring me an empty pot?"

Ping started to cry and replied, "I planted the seed you gave me and I watered it every day, but it didn't sprout. I put it in a better pot with better soil, but still it didn't sprout! I tended it all year long, but nothing grew. So today I had to bring an empty pot without a flower. It was the best I could do."

When the Emperor heard these words, a smile slowly spread over his face, and he put his arm around Ping. Then he exclaimed to
Gerardo Mendoza-Tovar
This story's protagonist is a boy named Ping; he is an excellent flower and plant grower. When the emperor has all the children in a competition in growing flowers and gives them seeds it is a test to see which one will become the new emperor. Ping cares for his flower, but when the time comes to show the emperor, his pot is empty. He decides to take it the emperor even though everyone else has beautiful flowers. The emperor ended up letting Ping be the new emperor because of his honesty. The em ...more
Abbie Shawano
I thought that this book was a very good story that could present a great unit on honesty. Ping was a smart, kind, little boy who could not get his flower to grow from the seeds the Emperor had given to him and many other children. The day every child came back to show their progress, Ping's pot was the only empty one. After very little consideration, the Emperor chose Ping to take his place in ruling the kingdom because of his honesty, knowing that each seed was not worthy of growing. I enjoyed ...more
Courtney Raymer
Personal Response: I really enjoy reading books from other cultures and this book I thought was very good. It was a good representation of the Chinese culture. I really enjoyed the pictures as well and the language throughout was easy to understand but also had some challenging words.

-read aloud: I will use this book as a read aloud to help learn about Chinese culture. Also to show diversity in the classroom. This book is different from the traditional book a teacher might ready because
Ann Marie Olson
Personal reaction: I liked this folktale because it is an authentic representation of a little Chinese boy named Ping and growing up in China under the Emperor. I also enjoyed the pictures in the book because they were colorful and matched the time period of the book. I liked how this book emphasized to always try your hardest and do your best because in the end you are more likely to get what you set out for.

Purposes/use in classroom: I think this would be a great book for read aloud for young
Rachel Keller
Folktales, especially those from other cultures and people groups, have always had a whimsical and enticing quality to them, in my opinion. The Empty Pot by Demi is no exception. In this story about honesty, a little boy named Ping cannot grow a seed given to him by the emperor. However, he learns that his seed was not meant to grow and his honesty earned him the highest honor - becoming emperor. The part when Ping goes before the emperor with his empty pot really stood out to me. I like how the ...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
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
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
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
Jean Marie
Personal Reaction: I enjoyed this story. At the beginning I thought Ping would have grown the greatest flowers for the Emperor. However, I did not expect the ending to turn out the way it did. Ping was honest unlike any of the other children in the land. I think the author did an excellent job of showing the reader how honesty truly is the best policy. I also really liked how the author pointed out Ping's courage for coming before him with nothing in hand but an empty pot. Ping really showed his ...more
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.
Leslie Kress
The Empty Pot is a beautiful story about an emperor searching for a successor to the throne. He gives a seed to all the children who desperately want to be emperor and tells them whoever can show him their best will get to be emperor. All the children come back with large, beautiful flowers. One boy, Ping, has been working hard with his seed, but nothing has grown. When the emperor sees Ping with his empty pot he happily selects Ping as emperor because the seeds had been cooked and Ping was the ...more
The Empty Pot is about the experience of a Chinese boy named Ping. The book shows Chinese children and an Emperor. The pictures are colorful and fun. They seem to be accurate to the set time period. The images are very detailed but not overdone. I enjoyed letting my eyes wander the page.

As far as the story line goes, it tells about how Ping is trying very hard to get a seed to sprout into a flower. He loves growing beautiful flowers and trees so when he finds himself failing at one of his great
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!
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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
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