Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Zen Shorts” as Want to Read:
Zen Shorts
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Zen Shorts (Zen)

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  7,664 ratings  ·  560 reviews
Jon. J. Muth combines stunning illustrations and spare language to deliver three classic Zen stories of enlightenment and love. In this extraordinary picture book, based on Buddhist teachings, three siblings view the world differently when a giant panda moves into the neighborhood and tells each of them an amazing tale. This unique and beautiful book offers real-life lesso ...more
MP3 CD
Published July 14th 2010 by Scholastic Audio (first published January 1st 2005)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Zen Shorts, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Zen Shorts

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
nicole
Feb 23, 2009 nicole rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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:

A HEAVY LOAD

Two traveling monk
...more
Kathryn
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
...more
Bryn
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
...more
Brad
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
...more
Amy
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
...more
Carolynne
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
...more
Susan
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!
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
Liz
Oct 31, 2009 Liz rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
Summary-
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.
Response-
Th
...more
Cristina
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,
...more
Ch_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
...more
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
...more
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
...more
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.
Dolly
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
...more
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  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: toddlers and older
Shelves: schl-5200
SUMMARY
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

COP
...more
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.
Ellinor
I love pandas and so I just had to love this book. Very beautiful pictures and a nice introduction to Zen for kids.
Greg
A giant panda bear that tells stories from the Huainanzi. What's not to like?
Ariel Ortiz
While learning about Buddhism, "Zen Shorts" allows for a lens on a particular sect of a religion highlighting the diversity within religious traditions. These shorts told from the perspective of a panda will allow for students to understand more of the teachings of the Buddha and have deep discussions about what these stories mean for Buddhists around the world. Exploring zen buddhism can be used as an example of a sect of a religion and connections can be made to the sects of religious traditio ...more
Crysta Xue
I am a sucker for pandas, so this book was the cherry on top of that love. I love the idea to walk into my backyard and find a panda who I could be friends with and get really good life advice from. I mean it is a panda! But on a more serious note. This book is such a smart book as far as its advice. Lessons like don't let anger at someone else's actions ruin your chance for you to have a good day. There are more than just that, but I think that these snip-its of advice are useful to remember. I ...more
Laurie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ally Copper
"Zen Shorts" by Jon J. Muth encourages readers to rethink their automatic actions and reactions and to consider alternative ways of viewing the world. Stillwater is a panda bear who mysteriously shows up outside the home of Karl, Michael, and Addy. He proves to be a positive influence and friend for the three children. Each child visits Stillwater and receives a story that speaks to their current situation and that offers an alternative way of thinking about the world. The frame story of the chi ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever
  • A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams
  • How I Learned Geography
  • Gone Wild: An Endangered Animal Alphabet
  • Noah's Ark
  • All the World
  • The Red Book
  • Sector 7
  • Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors
  • Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Hot-Air Balloon Ride
  • A Child's Calendar
  • First the Egg
  • The Stray Dog
  • Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom
  • The House in the Night
  • Hush! A Thai Lullaby
  • Coming on Home Soon
  • Tibet: Through the Red Box
12733
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...
Stone Soup The Three Questions Zen Ties Hi, Koo! Zen Ghosts

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »