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The Empty Pot

4.38  ·  Rating Details ·  3,340 Ratings  ·  419 Reviews
When Ping admits that he is the only child in China unable to grow a flower from the seeds distributed by the Emperor, he is rewarded for his honesty.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 15th 1996 by Turtleback Books (first published January 1st 1990)
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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!
Shanna Gonzalez
May 21, 2009 Shanna Gonzalez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-04-08
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
(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
Dec 22, 2010 Dolly rated it really liked it  ·  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.
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
Oct 05, 2011 Lindsay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 08, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Apr 24, 2012 Frances rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Kristina Taylor
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 24, 2012 Ava rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story takes place in China. Ping was a young boy who always grew lovely plants and flowers. The Emperor decided that it was time to find a successor, so he gave each child special flower seeds. Ping planted his seed but it would not grow. A year later, everyone had beautiful flowers to present to the Emperor except for Ping. He had an empty pot. The Emperor had given each child cooked seeds that should not have grown. He was impressed by Ping’s honesty and made him the successor.

The Empty Pot tells the story of a boy whose honesty and courage is praised and rewarded. Ping is a boy who has a passion for planting and taking care of flowers. He spends his days caring for his garden and pots of flowers. One day the emperor challenges all the boys in the kingdom to grow the most beautiful plant, and the boy the grows the most beautiful plant will be the next emperor. When Ping receives his seed, he is beyond excited to grow the most beautiful plant of all. For the n
Milagros Vazquez
A boy named Ping loved to grow and tender the flowers. He loved to grow different types of plant. But he wasn’t the only one who loved to grow plants and flowers, everyone in the kingdom loved flowers too. One day the emperor realized that he was old and needed someone else to rule for him. However, he wanted the most faithful and right person to rule. So he let his flower choose. The king gave every child a seed to take care of. All the children did their best to grow their plant. Ping t
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
Veronica Smith
Ping was a boy who grew up in China and had a real green thumb. The emperor loved flowers and tended to his garden every day but he was growing old. He needed to choose a successor to the throne very soon. He decided to call all of the children in the kingdom and they would be given special flower seeds and whoever has the best flower in a year will get the throne!
This news spread far and wide, all of the children wanted to be chosen so badly. Ping was so excited because he was such a great ga
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
May 06, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
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
Oct 09, 2013 midnightfaerie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
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
Maria Katrina
Oct 29, 2013 Maria Katrina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Sep 05, 2015 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Shelby Wright
Mar 02, 2016 Shelby Wright rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Title: The Empty Pot
Author: Demi
Genre: Non-European folktale
Theme(s): Honesty, Dedication, Hardwork
Opening line/sentence: "A long time ago in China, there was a boy named Ping who loved flowers.
Brief Book Summary: Ping loves gardening and has a green thumb- almost like magic. He is able to make anything bloom and come to life beautifully. The emperor of the land is soon resigning and needs to find someone to take his place. He also has a fondness for gardening and wants his success
Vaishali Joglekar
I haven't read 5-star fiction in a while, but you know it when you see it. BAM!
Warm, innocent, magnetic, tender, and full of truth.
A climax which brought tears to my eyes.... hands down the best part of my entire day.
Sep 25, 2016 Ashlee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-book
A sweet story about the importance of honesty and integrity. Timeless.
Camille Tesch
China ages 4-6
Oct 17, 2016 Kian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We should read this once a year!
Oct 06, 2016 Patsy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this tale about a test of integrity for children. I would read this with any child who is struggling to learn to tell the truth. Of course, this child was rewarded for being honest, in the end. But, the pressure to be dishonest was very intense. The tale is told appealingly, and the pictures are lovely and engagin.
Vanessa Westen
Great story for kids to realize honesty is the best policy!
Oct 16, 2016 Emmy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kid-stuff
A great book with a great lesson. Would highly recommend!
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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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