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The Empty Pot

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  4,652 ratings  ·  575 reviews
An IRA-CBC Children's Choice.

An American Bookseller "Pick of the Lists."

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.
Paperback, 32 pages
Published September 15th 1996 by Square Fish (first published January 1st 1990)
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Average rating 4.42  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,652 ratings  ·  575 reviews

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Sheeba Virani
Feb 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Killer of Dreams
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: children
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Per my second graders: I liked the part when he took it to the emperor because he was honest.
Shanna Gonzalez
May 21, 2009 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
Oct 09, 2013 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
A kingdom where everyone loved flowers, especially a young boy named Ping who could make anything grow ... all of which is good to see in a story for children.

Ultimately, honesty is rewarded.

The art fits the story beautifully.

I wish Demi had included a note explaining the origins of the tale.
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
Nov 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
This is such a sweet story about a young boy trying his best and being honest. He's ashamed that he can't get the Emperor's seed to grow and has to bring him an empty pot when all the other children basically cheated and brought different flowers. His father told him that his best was good enough, and that makes me wish many parents would read this to their children. This story would be a great conversation starter about honesty and about doing your best even when you're discouraged. I'm not a f ...more
Aladdin Jones
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a great tale for younger children...really even for those who are starting in the 1st grade. This is a tale that speaks to the characteristics of self-worth as well as honesty. Young Ping, the main character of the story, learns that he has a unique talent for nurturing a garden. But when given the opportunity to take part in a competition, he realizes that there are others whose results and talent appears to be better than his own. This, of course, brings him to the point of discouragem ...more
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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.
Zoe Mills
Apr 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sbc

This story would be a great topic book around Chinese new year. This story provides children with thinking around persistence, to try your best, and so on.
This story provides a simple and clear structure that can be used for children to create their own stories: introduce character- build-up: going to be a new emperor- problem: seed would not grow- solution: still took to the emperor- ending: became next emperor
This story provides opportunities for Cross-Curricular, culture, housing, growin
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s, reviewed
This was a wonderful little book about honesty. I found it so very heart-warming and a story that holds true in it's portrayal, even today. I great book for children with a good lesson, and a brilliant little read for adults too, who want something enjoyable but quick.
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Our read aloud for the morning.

I loved this story, and so did my boys! We were already familiar with the folklore plot, but the pictures and the way the story was told added depth and meaning. My children talked about the meaning of the book as they walked to class.
Kristen Page
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very cute story
Long Live Wonderland
Love love what this teaches to children
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The message of Honesty is very clear and rewarded.
Chad Perry
Apr 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A very short story (children’s book) with an extremely great message. One of my favorite books of the year! :)
Cynthia Egbert
Apr 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
Such a beautiful reminder of the importance of honesty and the power contained with being true to yourself and your efforts. I love this book so much and wish that every family could share it and discuss its truths.
Ashley McFerrin
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed "The Empty Pot" because of the good moral hidden within the folk story. I loved the setting of China underneath an emperor as it gives students an opportunity to learn about Chinese history, culture, and political structure during the context of the story. I remember how I was as a child, and I would've definitely been one of the children who showed up with a flower rather than a pot, so I think this is an important lesson to learn. One question I had after reading the book was if the ...more
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: folktales
Lovely fable about truth and honesty. Simple but colourful illustrations.
Melissa T
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
Very nice story about trying your best. Son loved it.
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kiddie-books
Such a wonderful story but I wasn't fond of the illustrations.
Sep 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
(NS) Laura Jackson
Sep 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Courtney Lauren Smith
Apr 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Dec 22, 2010 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. ...more
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Life Lesson: Honesty is the best policy 2 8 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 f

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