Zen Shorts

By: John J. Muth

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What's it About?

This picture book is about a panda that moves in to a neighborhood and meets some children. Now this panda is not like any panda, Stillwater tells these children stories about life lessons that they need to learn.

Literary Elements

The Panda looks so much bigger than the kids making him someone they look up to, and the overall theme almost for the images is like an Asian-feel.

Physical Features

This book is one of the more bigger in size, its not huge though. The cover has a big panda on it floating away with an umbrella. But the flowers and umbrella are an Asian style, which is a theme for the entire book. (Zen, Panda, Asian umbrella, ect.)

Visual Elements

The use of color really makes the book feel light and bright. When I pick up the book I automatically think of something happy and warm like Spring.
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Artistic Style

I think this book is expressionistic, realistic, cartoon and maybe a little folk. The Panda is not actually able to speak in real life. But the drawings look realistic. The Asian elements provide the folk part. and expressionistic with the use of colors and faces.

Artistic Media

At first glance it reminds me of the Molly, By-Golly! book in terms of the way it was created. When I looked it up though, I did not find concrete evidence on how it was drawn.

I am 99% sure the illustrator used watercolors to paint the pictures.

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Elements of Illustration

I think the drama of turning the page is a good element for this book, I was really engaged and wanted to see what was next. The pictures aren't really framed its just the whole page normally.

Interplay of Text and Illustrations

The text and and illustrations are both together. Normally you would have them separated or maybe a border around one and this book doesn't do that. The text is just in the picture. Where ever the text is though, the space is lighter so you can read the words.