professornana (professornana) wrote,

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the ties that bind

I adore Jon Muth's picture books. I use them in my YA workshops on a regular basis as they have an audience which ranges well beyond the one generally thought of when it comes to picture books. ZEN TIES is no exception.

Stillwater, the panda, and his haiku-speaking nephew Koo, persuade some children to look beyond their misconceptions of an elderly woman in the community. Their efforts to offer help to this woman are, of course, rewarded beyond what they could have imagined. OK, seems like fairly well-covered territory. However, the haiku-speaking panda coupled with the amazing Stillwater (and do pay attention to the Dickensian names here) along with the watercolors that fill the page and seem to grow as you view them, the charming hidden (not quite) objects and actions in the illustrations that move the story forward without words, the spare text, and the careful use of colors to highlight and you have a winner once again.
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