Monday, November 21, 2011

Zen Ties ~ by Jon J. Muth

Zen Ties ~ by Jon J. Muth, 2008, children's, 9/10
Summer has arrived — and so has Koo, the haiku-speaking young nephew of Stillwater, the panda.  And when Stillwater encourages Koo and his friends Addy, Michael, and Karl to help a grouchy old neighbor in need, their efforts are rewarded in unexpected ways.  Zen Ties is a disarming story of compassion and friendship that reaffirms the importance of our ties to one another.
The backs of the two pandas are shown on the front cover and their faces on the back cover.  What a concept!  Notice the balloons — appropriately placed to show correct perspective when we look at the other side.  The five balloons (a purple one is added inside with these colors) aren't part of the written story, but illustrations show them being given and shared and jointly lifting the little panda on one page.

I especially like paintings of the elderly woman, who used to teach English and who first appears not to like children.  After the children help her, she helps the older boy prepare for his spelling bee.
"Now listen.  Just like plants, words have roots," Miss Whitaker said.  "A plant grows from its roots and so do words.  Roots of words can teach you to spell."
And then the three children and the two pandas sit down to tea with Miss Whitaker.  The friend I'm housesitting (and cat-sitting) for suggested I would like it.  I do.  I rate this delightful children's book 9 of 10, excellent.

For more children’s books reviews, go to Booking Mama’s feature, Kid Konnection.  If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week,  leave a comment as well as a link on her site.


Helen's Book Blog said...

Fantastic artwork, I love it!

bermudaonion said...

This sounds fabulous! The illustration you shared is gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

I love the quote about plants and roots and words. So true!

Julie P. said...

Thanks so much for sharing. The illustrations are spectacular!