Have there been times in your life when you read a book and it begins rather benignly, but as you slowly turn each page, you progressively begin to realize just how very special the book is that you're reading? It's a very meta experience. That's the feeling I had as I read Zen Ties.
quirky and beautifully wise, Zen Ties by Jon J. Muth is a book that's both easy and
hard to describe. Just like the old saying "Still waters run deep," on
the surface this is a story about a group of kids coming to appreciate
their grouchy, elderly neighbor by begrudgingly visiting her
everyday thanks to the encouragement of Stillwater the panda. But this is a
book that requires more than one reading because of all the beautiful
word play (Stillwater's nephew Koo only speaks in haiku so when we
first meet him, Stillwater greets him by saying "Hi, Koo!) and the depth
of symbolism throughout. I guarantee you will learn something new each time you open it up. It is a book that defies age groups because you can learn something new from it depending on what stage you are at in your life.
Like the story itself, the watercolor artwork is both gentle and wise. This is a must-have title for any classroom library, no matter what age you teach.
And if you want to see more of Stillwater's nephew, Koo, check out Muth's newest book, Hi, Koo! which is told in, you guessed it, haiku.
Zen Ties by Jon J. Muth
Published: February 1, 2008
Genre: Picture Book
Disclosure: Library Copy