Zen Ties - Jon J. Muth (2008)

                       (Note: This book is a sequel of "Zen Shorts" by Jon J. Muth. But this book can be enjoyed as a stand alone book also.)

Some Haiku and a Cup of Apple Tea

        Sometimes, small acts of kindness can change stones. Michael, Addy and Karl understand this, with Stillwater's kind and tender actions (The same characters occurred in Jon J. Muth's "Zen Shorts" also.)

         Stillwater is a big Panda bear, who is joined by Koo, his nephew (who talks only in haiku) over summer vacation. Michael, Addy and Karl are friends of Stillwater and Michael is anxious about his spelling bee challenge. Stillwater suggests them to join him to visit sick Miss Whitaker, a grouchy neighbor. The rest of the story moves with how Stillwater takes the initiative to change the grouchy neighbor. Also, how does Michael face his spelling bee challenge? What does Koo gain over his summer vacation?

      Publisher : Scholastic Press

        Classification : Emotional (Being Friendly), Moral,

                             Poems ( Haikus  in the story)

         Age : Grade 3 and above

         ISBN 10 : 04396 34253

         ISBN 13 : 978 04396 34250

My Comment :
                To start with, this story looks like a story of friendship and kindness. But in depth, this story is multilayered, encompassing various morals and philosophies, that pop up with deep reading. The illustrations and narration(by Jon J. Muth) are the two pillars that support the work all the way.

                If you are a lover of poetry, you cannot stop wondering at the haikus of Koo and cut off yourself from going on an another time reading. Apart from this, this book hold many lovely details. There is no end to the numerous detailings, I loved in this book:

  • The front cover shows Stillwater and Koo from back and the back cover shows them from front view. It looks just like when you turn a person, you can see their front.
  • The narration becomes quiet at times and the illustrations express. Miss Whitaker taking a look at Karl's pictures is a classic.
  • The names of Stillwater and Koo can be deciphered into meanings. 
          Stillwater - symbolizes calm and deep knowledge of Stillwater
               Hi, Koo - Koo talking only in Haiku. The wordplay is amazing.
  • Koo watering the plants in the background, when Miss Whitaker talks about words, plants and their roots.
  • At the end of summer vacation, the empty cup of Koo getting filled (with either memories or knowledge) is enthralling.

                           As I said, this list is endless, only a reader can enjoy all these nuances by herself/himself. As a sequel to "Zen Shorts" and with same characters occurring, it is inevitable, comparing the two books. But, even though, this book is a bit complex, it is fascinating and quite a read, like its prequel.

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  1. This sounds so sweet, and you know it has made me want to read a book with a character that only speaks in Haiku. I have never quite warmed to Haiku but this sounds enchanting. Thanks for a great recommendation and for joining us on the Kid Lit Blog Hop

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It is a pleasure to join Kid Lit Blog Hop.

  2. I'm not a huge fan of Haiku, but this book sounds so cute. And your mention of all the details are exactly those things which make something like this really worth reading. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I thought the cover looked familiar. We have read Zen Shorts, but not Zen Ties. This book sounds just as wonderful. I am definitely going to have to grab a copy which fits perfectly with the Haiku writing lessons my daughter has been having in school. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks for commenting. We too love Zen Shorts. At first, I came to know about the book 'Zen Ties', as I am collecting details about 'Zen Shorts'. They both are amazing.


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