Monday, April 25, 2005

Zen Shorts

Read the kid a fine book this weekend, Zen Shorts. It's by Jon Muth, the same guy that wrote The Three Questions, another excellent children's book. That one was an adaptation of a Tolstoy tale; this one features a giant panda named Stillwater (who speaks "with a slight panda accent") who moved in near three children and follows his umbrella, one rainy day, into their backyard. The illustrations are amazing, but of course, words being my business, it was the story I came for.

Anyway, when each child goes to visit Stillwater in turn, he ends up telling a Zen koan (a Zen short) to the child (or, as my kid said happily, as the second one approached in the narrative, "Oh! Another story!"). The last story is my favorite. I'd love to tell it here. But that'd be a spoiler.

These are great books. Go find them.

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