It’s Book Talk Tuesday! I’m linking up with Deanna Jump over at Mrs. Jump’s Class to talk about one of my all time favorites – Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth.
It’s a Caldecott Honor book that is perfect for targeting higher level thinking skills.
A wise bear, Stillwater, moves into Karl’s, Addy’s, and Michael’s neighborhood. They don’t know it, but this strange bear will forever change their outlooks on life.
In the days that follow each of the siblings stop by Stillwater’s house to visit. Addy goes first and gifts the giant panda with a bamboo cake. He tells Addy about his Uncle Ry who gives people gifts on his own birthday. He then asks Addy if it’s her birthday…
Well, it’s not Stillwater’s birthday either but he gives Addy a gift anyways. He tells her a story. It’s about his Uncle Ry who offered a thief his last piece of clothing. Uncle Ry feels sorry for the thief and wishes he could have given him the moon.
The next day, Michael stops by for a visit. He also receives a story. Stillwater tells a story about luck. It has an incredible moral, like all of his stories.
Lastly, Karl stops by. He’s angry at his brother Michael. So of course, Stillwater drops some more knowledge. He tells Karl a story entitled, “A Heavy Load.”
Karl realizes that he had spent the entire day angry at his brother…. when he could have been having fun. Stillwater takes Karl home and leaves his new friend with a valuable lesson.
This book is truly beautiful – from the delicate watercolor to the story itself. The stories within the story are called “zen shorts.” They are designed to make you ponder right, wrong, and life itself. These stories will challenge students to think outside the box. This book can be difficult, especially for students with language disorders…. but with scaffolding it is perfect for honing inferential thinking.
“Hold on tight… I will tell you a story.”
But as challenging as this book is…. I believe that it is ultimately about something very simple. Friendship.
Have a Happy Tuesday! I’ll be back with another book tomorrow and a FREE book companion for Wild About Books Wednesday. Thanks for stopping by!