May 24, 2009

Spring Children's Book Parade: Zen Shorts

The six o'clock stitch is hosting the Spring Children's Book Parade and I've decided to participate and post several of my favourite children's books here. I absolutely love children's books and illustrations. I particularly enjoy classics but every now and then some newer books come to my attention which get under my skin and into my psyche just as much as the old standbys. Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth is just such a one. This book is all about Stillwater the Panda and the friendship and influence he has with the three children who are his neighbors. The book is really a series of interactions with the children as Stillwater tells each one a story to help them understand or cope with something their little minds mulling over (i.e. "And the moral of the story is..."). The book has a very quiet tone, and a sort of lazy-summer-afternoon pace which I happen to really enjoy.

But the real kicker about this book is the illustrations (Jon J Muth is the authour and illustrator). The watercolors are gorgeous - I mean really, I could sit and turn the pages for hours staring at each illustration. The colors are soft but rich, the washes sweeping and simple (complimenting the slow pace), and the layout is very well-done. The full-colour, full-page layouts make me want to rip the pages out and hang them all over my walls!

Please check out this and other books by Jon J Muth. He has also written a sequal called Zen Ties (which I have not read) and The Three Questions (a recrafting of Tolstoy), but Zen Shorts is by far my very favourite of his books! So head to your local bookstore or library and check them out!!

Please stop by the six o'clock stitch and to see the Spring Children's Book Parade and check out the books other readers recommend!

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